Pike County supervisors received a copy of the administrator’s proposed annual budget and tax levy Monday that calls for a 1.56-mill tax hike, or an additional $15.60 a year on a $100,000 house.
Supervisors will go over it at a budget work session 9 a.m. Thursday. It’s up to the board whether to follow the budget’s recommendations.
The budget totals $42,544,073 and calls for a 60.18-mill tax levy countywide, plus 3.5 mills in areas outside municipalities for garbage and volunteer fire departments. It doesn’t include school district or municipal tax levies.
County administrator Tami Dangerfield said this year’s budget is especially challenging because of several unavoidable increases — health insurance premiums, state retirement, workers compensation, plus state-mandated raises for some elected and appointed officials.
She also budgeted for 3 percent employee pay raises.
The increases total $414,000 in health insurance, $341,556 in salaries, $51,595 in state-mandated salaries and $65,000 in workers comp.
Board president Chuck Lambert pointed out that the proposed budget is based on preliminary figures including total property values of $316,688, which could change, and estimated public utility rolls, which haven’t come in.
Dangerfield said the board will also have to do something about the garbage fund, which struggles to maintain an operating balance. She suggested either raising garbage pickup rates, currently $14 per month, or adding to the 1-mill solid waste levy.
Lambert said the county needs another house count from Waste Management and said he wants a county employee to ride along when it’s conducted.
Also, Scenic Rivers Development Alliance, which had been receiving $50,000 a year from supervisors, has requested a full tax mill, or around $285,000.
The budget does not include several items requested by the sheriff’s department, including four new deputy positions, two new investigator positions, and salary increases over 3 percent.
Not in the budget yet are proceeds from an Internet use tax approved by the Legislature, which Lambert said should bring in $160,000 next year. He said the money must be used for roads and bridges in addition to the current road and bridge budget. Supervisors asked Dangerfield to set up a separate account for the funds, which the county should start receiving in January.