Commission OKs 7 cent property tax hike

Cannon County Commissioners approved a 7 cent hike on property taxes Saturday as they passed a balanced budget for 2016-2017.

The vote set the property tax rate at $2.75 which breaks down into $1.40 for the Cannon County General Fund, 15 cents for Solid Waste, 18 cents for Debt Service, 17 cents for the Ambulance Service and 85 cents for Cannon County Schools. Each cent is the equivalent to approximately $20,000.

Voting in "yes" favor of the $2.75 tax rate were Commissioners Mark Barker, Todd Hollandsworth, Jim Bush, Richie Hunter, Brent Bush and Adam Melton. Voting "no" were Commissioners Russell Reed, Karen Ashford and Glenn Steakley. Absent from the meeting was Commissioner James Holloway.

Debate over the tax rate went down to the last minute as commissioners fought to balance the budget with Commissioner Barker suggesting an $11,000 cut to the Sheriff's Department's budget in the line item dealing with employee insurance.

"There's two ways to balance what we did on Thursday, take a little bit more out of the spending and I've identified one line item there that's more or put it back up to $1.40 and that's put you $10,000 to the good," Barker said.

Increasing the budget would have set the tax rate at $2.76.

Commissioners also rejected a request from the Cannon County School Board to increase their share of the county's tax rate.