Commission to discuss annual budget

Xavier Smith • Aug 18, 2017 at 12:49 PM

The Wilson County Commission will discuss its annual budget and tax rate Monday during its monthly meeting at the Wilson County Courthouse.

A public hearing will start at 6 p.m. prior to the 7 p.m. meeting.

The county’s property tax rate would remain at 2.5189 if commissioners approve the tax rate and $141-million budget as proposed. The group approved a property tax increase of 35.17 cents more than the state certified rate of 2.1672 last year.

However, there remains a chance the property tax rate could change when the resolution reaches the commission floor Monday night, according to Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto.

Last week, Hutto attended a Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce meeting and was asked about the likelihood the commission would consider raising taxes to support some Wilson County Schools projects, primarily the construction of a new high school in Mt. Juliet, estimated at $110 million.

The Wilson County Budget Committee did not approve any items on the school district’s needs assessment list last month, which included the new high school and several other items, including pay raises for bus drivers and teachers.

Aaron Maynard, county finance director, implied following last year’s tax increase, the county would be strapped for funds for future school construction projects until 2025, based on projections, noting any project would likely require a tax increase. 

Hutto said the situation was more complicated than simply raising property taxes, because several residents in the county do not have an impact on the school system.

“It’s a balance between the pressure on you and supply the needs we have. That’s a tough call, and those [commissioners] back there have it. I don’t vote. The Budget Committee did not attach it. Any of the county commissioners could speak up on the 21st and say, ‘Hey. I want to vote for a 12-cent tax increase.’ If they all vote for it, it could still happen. The pressure to do that on the back of 35 cents (last year) is tough. The need is there. No question,” Hutto said.

Last year’s budget ended with revenues exceeding expectations by about $2 million, according to Maynard.

The fund balance June 30, 2018, the last day of the upcoming fiscal year, is projected to be about $8.2 million.

The general fund is expected to grow by about $1.1 million compared to last year, while the list of needs from various county departments is at about $1.5 million.

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