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Commissioners tinker with budget, but tax hike still projected

Grady County Commissioners will hold two more public hearings on a proposed 14 percent tax hike tomorrow, Aug. 17, at 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the courthouse.
Commissioners heard from concerned citizens Thursday night and again on Tuesday night.
At the public hearing last week, Grady County Administrator Carlos Tobar unveiled a revised budget plan that could be funded at a lower millage rate. The tentative rate adopted previously is 14.653 mills, but the revised proposal could be funded with a rate of 13.85 mills.
The revised spending plan cuts funding for the road department, sheriff’s office and a long planned remodeling and expansion of the clerk of court’s office.
Tobar also had removed funding for a refurbished ambulance, but the consensus of the board was to keep it in the budget.
The board is expected to give final approval to the 2017 tax rate tomorrow night.
A large number of citizens spoke against the proposed tax hike last week and on Tuesday night.
Many continue to question the reassessment of residential property in the county.
Commissioner T.D. David attempted to explain the process the Board of Tax Assessors follows in establishing values.
Officials say that without the reassessment the county could face state fines of $5 per parcel for the approximately 14,000 parcels in the county.
Last Thursday night, Twila Poitevint asked commissioners if they had been through the budget and “deleted what can be deleted.” She also asked if the budget was “bare bones?”
Commissioner David said without a doubt the budget is “bare bones” but he was opposed to cutting money for public safety. Tobar says the majority of the county’s budget is spent on public safety.

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