County proposes 4-cent hike in tax rate

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 14, 2008

COURTLAND-A $54.7 million budget proposed Wednesday night would cost Southampton County taxpayers 4 cents more on their real estate tax rates, supervisors learned during a budget workshop.

The budget represents a 7 percent increase from the 2008 spending plan. Tax and fee increases are expected to raise about $600,000 in new revenue, and a transfer from the county’s general fund reserve would account for about $1.5 million worth of the extra funds needed to pay for higher projected expenses.

Nearly every expense category is expected to rise, County Administrator Michael Johnson showed supervisors during a presentation at the special meeting. The single falling expense would be the public works budget, which benefits from $222,490 in annual savings that have been realized from the monitored trash transfer stations.

Large increases are in the works for the building fund, which must cover the debt service for the new Riverdale Elementary School, the new county radio system and the Turner tract, which was bought for eventual use as an industrial park.

&uot;I don’t think you’re going to do any better than what you’ve got here, because you’ve really tightened the belt,&uot; Board of Supervisors Chairman Dallas O. Jones said at the end of the session.

&uot;I think it’s a great budget,&uot; added Berlin-Ivor District Supervisor Ronald M. West. &uot;I think folks have known for at least a year that there would be a 4-cent increase (in taxes).&uot;