Commissioners back major hike in tax rate

County commissioners agreed  Monday to hike the property tax rate by more than 11 cents in 2016.

The rate would go from 34.83 cents to 46 cents per $100 valuation, and possibly higher.

That measure would generate nearly as much property tax revenue as the current budget year, or about $12 million, said County Auditor Linda Barnette.

At the same time, the county would use about $264,000 in reserves.

Commissioners, who will formally propose the new tax levy at a later date, agreed to the higher rate after property values fell nearly 25 percent this year. Most of the decrease was due to a loss of mineral values.

Precinct 2 Commissioner Larry Carter said the county had no choice but to raise the rate or reduce services.

Curtis Thrash, Precinct 1 commissioner, acknowledged that the new rate will mean higher property tax bills for both homeowners and farmers.

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