Sullivan Co. Budget Committee discusses tax hike

Sullivan Co. Budget Committee discusses tax hike (Image 1)

Cities and counties around the Tri-Cities are crunching numbers trying to finalize next year’s budget.

Tuesday, Washington County Mayor Dan Eldridge said he’ll present a balanced budget to commissioners in Wednesday morning, with no tax increase.

In Sullivan County, commissioners met Tuesday to deal with the harsh reality project the budget to be around $160-million.

For many tax payers, there’s something looming- the possibility of taxes increasing.

Sullivan County homeowner Sandra Parker said, “that’s the nice thing about being out here, having my own yard.”

After living in a town home for nearly two decades, Parker and her husband now own a home in Blountville.

She said, “I love my home. I want to be able to stay here.”

The Parker’s said  they’re on a fixed income. “A lot of us are struggling,” she said.

Including the county commission. They’re still in discussions about how to balance next year’s budget.

County Commissioner Dennis Houser said, “not everybody’s going to be happy, and we’re going to have to make a decision.”

“We’re going to have to try and come up with cuts or growths in revenue to pay for the things that they’ve committed for and pay for things that are definitely needed,” Sullivan County Budget Director Larry Bailey said.

One way the county could earn more revenue is to increase taxes.

“If they were to raise any taxes that are involved, there’s no chance that the income is going to become larger, even though the amount we have to pay is going to become more,” Parker said.

Before raising taxes, commissioners voted Tuesday to send the budget back to two committees and the school board to see if they can get by with any less.

Bailey said, “they can expect that some things will have to take place, either some reductions or some increases in revenues.”

While Parker hopes taxes remain low, she said, “if they have to raise them I want them to really consider why they think they have to do that and to do it very minimally.”

The Sullivan County commission has asked the school board and two committees to come back to them within two weeks.

The county’s budget director said the budget needs to be approved next month.

Copyright 2015 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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