DOBSON — Based on present property valuations and the existing tax rate, most volunteer fire districts in the county are expecting a little more money next year, but finance officials said Thursday that the anticipated numbers are “very preliminary” at this point.
Both finance officers and county commissioners were quick to say that only estimates are known at this point, and final figures won’t be available until property tax values are set across the county and each district’s tax rates are set. The news came as fire department representatives met with county commissioners to submit their requested budgets Tuesday.
Estimated revenues for budgeting purposes are based on the present tax rate in the district and a 96-percent collection rate, Assistant County Manager for Budget and Finance Betty Taylor said Thursday.
While the departments base their requested revenue on property tax valuation, Taylor noted that they aren’t requesting a tax hike, simply a dollar amount.
“That’s the amount of money they’ve requested for their budget,” she said. “Often they don’t know what the rate’s going to bring them. They’re looking at dollar figures rather than (tax) rates.”
She added that revenues listed don’t include monies generated from the collection of any back taxes owed to the county.
The numbers reflect increases or decreases in property value rather than an increased tax rate, but Commissioner Paul Johnson noted that the property tax rates are subject to change as more information becomes available.
“Some of the valuation in some areas will probably increase, and some of them will decrease, that’s what we don’t know yet,” he said. “But we will know before we make a decision on whether to increase or decrease their tax rate.”
Final valuation numbers will be available later this month or in early May, Johnson added.
Based on the existing tax rate and the information now available, the only department that’s showing a decrease in requested revenue next year is Jot-Um-Down, which shows a decrease of about $13,256 in revenue. Its tax revenue is expected to decrease from this year’s estimated $95,616 to around $82,360, according to numbers released by Taylor’s office. The department’s tax rate is 10 cents per $100.
The other districts in the county are expected to increase their tax revenue, based on existing rates, but Johnson was quick to say that everything is still up in the air at this point and the numbers are based on estimated property values.
Next year’s tax revenue requests, by department, are as follows:
• Ararat — The Ararat fire district is requesting an additional $483 in tax revenue next year, based on a property tax rate of 8 cents per $100. This translates into a .5 percent increase in revenue, to $90,800. The estimated revenue is up from this year’s budgeted $90,317.
• Bannertown — Bannertown firefighters can look forward to an estimated increase in tax revenue of about $33,348, based on today’s property tax rate of 5.5 cents per $100. The estimate hikes the department’s requested tax revenue from the present $186,384 to around $219,732.
• C.C. Camp — The C.C. Camp district has a property tax rate of 6.5 cents per $100, and next year’s requested revenue is expected to increase to around $130,150, up from the present tax revenue of $101,213, county tax officials said.
• Central Surry — The Central Surry district has requested tax revenue of around $216,751 next year, a healthy increase from this year’s estimated tax income of $151,846. The property tax rate in the district is now 6.1 cents per $100 property value.
• Four Way — The fire department in the Four Way district has asked the commissioners for $54,790 in additional tax revenue next year, based on the present tax rate of 8.5 cents per $100. The additional revenue expected will bring the department’s tax revenue to around $217,500, up from presently estimated revenue of $162,710.
• Franklin — The Franklin district has requested about $70,582 more in tax revenue next year, based on the district’s 6.6 cents per $100 tax rate now in place. The additional revenue, if estimates are correct and come to fruition, will jump the department’s revenue from the present $279,418 to around $350,000.
• Mountain Park — The Mountain Park district now has a property tax rate of 7.7 cents per $100. Estimated increases in property values in the district reflect a revenue increase of $2,741, bringing the department’s requested tax revenue to $115,025. This is an increase of 2.4 percent over the tax income of $112,284 presently estimated.
• Pilot Knob — Pilot Knob has a tax rate of 4 cents per $100. With the existing tax rate, increases in property values in the district are expected to result in an additional $12,589 for the department. Next year’s requested tax revenue in the district is $135,162, up from the present estimate of $122,573.
• Pine Ridge — With a tax rate of 7 cents per $100, firefighters in the Pine Ridge district are expected to see tax revenue increase to $141,990. This reflects a requested increase of $21,028 from the presently estimated $120,967.
• Shoals — The Shoals Fire District has a property tax rate of 6.5 cents per $100. Using these figures, county finance officials estimate that increased property values in the district will result in requested revenue of $117,844, an increase from this year’s estimated $85,769.
• South Surry — The district is expected to receive an additional $8,664 in tax revenue next year, a figure based on the existing property tax rate of 5.5 cents per $100. The additional money will increase the department’s requested tax income to $147,000, up from the present estimated tax revenue of $138,336.
• State Road — The State Road district has a property tax rate of 4.4 cents per $100. Property value increases in the district are expected to result in additional requested tax revenue of $82,000 next year, up from this year’s estimated revenue of $73,962.
• Westfield — Using the existing rate of 4.7 cents per $100 as a guide, county finance officials estimate that next year’s property tax income requested by the department will be around $84,088, an increase from the present $61,747.
• White Plains — The White Plains district now has a property tax rate of 6.6 cents per $100. If the rate remains the same next year in the district, property value increases could result in an additional $14,110 in requested revenue for the department. The estimated increase would result in $171,500 next year, up from the present estimated income of $157,390.
Reach Keith Strange at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.