Sullivan Co. Commission approves budget, 27 cent property tax hike

SULLIVAN COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – The Sullivan County Commission approved a budget for this fiscal year — which started July 1 — Monday, which will include a 27 cent property tax hike.

The commission approved the property tax increase by a 13-8 vote. Two members of the committee were absent from Monday’s meeting.

WEBPICSULLIVANCOCOMMISSION1While some property owners were not satisfied with the outcome, there was a group who has been vocal about being in favor of the tax hike for weeks.

“This is a very good moment for our school system,” said Evelyn Rafalowski.

Sullivan County Interim Director of Schools, Evelyn Rafalowski, says they were in favor of the increase because part of this 27 cent property tax increase will fund a 4 percent pay raise for school employees.

“People see a pay raise as a gesture, as thank you for a job well done,” said Rafalowski.

This decision hasn’t come easy for commissioners, going back and forth between the commission and budget committee, trying to decide if 27 cents was the right number.

Even after today’s vote, commissioners like Patrick Shull still aren’t sure.

“I came into today’s proceedings expecting to have a tax increase of something less than 27 cents,” said Shull.

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In the end, commissioners had to vote twice before a majority agreed on this tax increase.

It is an increase commissioners like Terry Harkleroad say will help move the county in a more positive direction.

“You can’t keep kicking the can down the road hoping that you can take a surplus to balance the budget, sometimes you have to pay a little bit to have those services,” said Harkelroad.

When you crunch the numbers on a home valued at $100,000, this increase will mean an additional $67 dollars a year for property owners.

The 27 cent property tax increase is for this fiscal year, that technically went into effect back on July 1st.

Copyright 2015 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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