Union Co. Commissioners respond to tax increase - myfoxcarolinas.com

Union Co. Commissioners respond to tax increase

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Union County Commissioners voted 3-2 in favor of approving the 2014-15 Operating and Capital Budget of $406,491,014. The budget will bring the tax rate to 76.14 cents per $100 of assessed value -- which is a 15.4 percent increase from the previous rate of 66 cents.

Earlier in the month, local state senator Tommy Tucker helped pass a two-year moratorium where the county must provide $106.7 million in funding for Union County Public Schools. In return, the schools could not sue the county -- which happened last summer.

Under the moratorium, the county does not have control over how the money is spent.

Frank Aikmus, Richard Helms and Jerry Simpson voted in favor of the budget. Todd Johnson and Jonathan Thomas voted against.

"Normally when you have a very contentious vote that's 4-1, 3-2, there tends to be a different philosophy on what's being debated and you pit one commissioner against another," Thomas said. "That's simply not the case here...my vote was simply based on principle.

"Since 2011 our instructional expenses in the county has decreased by $80,000 while our support services has increased $9.6 million. So it says our priority is not the classroom like many say it is and I believe if we increase taxes the money needs to go to the classroom."

Despite his vote against it, Thomas said there was a need for the increase with "no other option" than to wait another year for it to happen.

"In my four years of being in office last night was the most somber night that I've been a part of," Thomas said. "We've been a part of many contentious evenings, many happy evenings -- last night was like losing someone close to you. Everyone, as I said last night, everyone that left that room was a loser. Whether you got additional funds or not, every taxpayer in Union County is going to burden this decision. It's going to fall on their shoulders and we all lose at the end of the day."


 

 

 

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