County benefits from increase in property values; tax rate approved

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Through a series of budget cuts, Clay County commissioners managed to do without a tax rate increase for the fiscal year 2015 budget. Clay County has not had a rate increase since 2003, but reserve funds have dwindled in the past two years.

The ad valorem rate will remain at 65.518 cents per $100 in property value with 49.399 cents going to the county’s general funds for maintenance and operations and 16.119 cents set aside for road and bridge funds.

Commissioner approved the tax rate Monday following the second of two public hearings, as well as other budget-related items. Commissioners did not on the 2015 budget even though it is now awaiting signatures of approval.

Included in the budget is a $1,000 raise in annual salaries for all county employees.

The county will benefit from an overall increase in taxable values, creating an additional $78,356.11 in revenue. In 2013, Clay County was set to collect $4.429 million. With 2014 assessments in hand, the county will collect $4.508 million.

Commissioners approved the unresolved balance policy, County Clerk Sasha Kelton’s records management and preservation plan, and an increase in sheriff’s and constable’s fees as recommended by Sheriff Kenny Lemons.

Commissioners also approved an order setting the salary of Auditor Ramona Seward and District Court Reporter Betty Sanders. Both salaries are set by 97th District Judge Jack McGaughey.

In other business, commissioners approved a request by the Clay County Fire Association to use the courthouse square and courthouse annex restrooms Saturday, Oct. 4 for the H2O Motorcycle Rally and Car Show, as well as a request from C.H. Dowdy of the Clay County Art Association for the use of the annex hallway in the event of rain during the Pioneer Reunion art show on Saturday, Sept. 20.

Commissioners discussed the purchase of an easement totaling 0.14 acres from Danny Brock on Friendship Road and a plan by Justice of the Peace John Swenson to use fees collected to supplement Juvenile Case Manager Toby Davis’ income at $1,000 per month.

Commissioners meet again at 9 am. Monday, Sept. 22.

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Matt Kelton

Matt Kelton began working for community newspapers at 19 and has since won numerous awards. He founded The Pioneer Sentinel in 2011 with the belief that a locally owned news source best represents a community. Matt is a fifth generation resident of Clay County.

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