Possible 32-Cent Property Tax Increase For Coffee County

property-tax-It looks like Coffee County property owners are headed for an increase on taxes. The Coffee County Budget and Finance Committee has voted to suggest a property tax hike of 32-cents to cover a shortfall from last year’s county budget and extra money needed for the upcoming budget. 10 cents of this 32-cent increase is due to the $1 million pulled out of last year’s fund balance to avoid a tax increase last year, so nearly one third of the amount has nothing to do with this year’s increases.
17 cents of the tax increase is for the new county jail that will be completed by August and opening fully by the first of the year. This will keep the workhouse open as well. The workhouse is the portion of the old jail where low-risk inmates sentenced to the work detail program are housed. Sheriff Steve Graves says the new jail is not being built to include a work detail, and that any work detail program must be conducted in a completely separate facility from the jail itself.
3 cents for the increase in jail medical costs. The overrun on this year’s budget will be around $300,000.
Graves has said on WMSR several times that jail medical costs are mostly because of inmate fights. Graves says that the main reason for this is the overcrowded cells, which often have 30 or 40 inmates in a cell designed for 16.
The remaining 2 cents is for step raises and minor budget increases in various departments.
We reported recently that the county school system was asking for around extra $800,000. Director, Dr. LaDonna McFall is now asking for a much lower amount of $93,000. One of the main reasons for the lower amount is that money needed for buses will come out of the Rural Debt Service fund instead of the school budget. This move will keep the county from having to match funds with city school systems.
The full commission meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Coffee County Administrative Plaza at 1329 McArthur St. in Manchester.