Madison County commissioners won’t raise taxes this year. They set their tax rate Aug. 31, but the group is still pondering action on a projected shortfall of revenues in the 2016 county budget.
If all budget requests from department heads are approved, the board will be around $1 million short of balancing the budget. Of course, the county commissioners don’t plan to give the green light to all requests. Yet, exactly what will be approved has not been determined.
The board of commissioners met for about two hours Aug. 24 to talk about next year’s numbers, but took no votes. Finance director Kathy Clark told board members that the county would be $987,762 short in its 2016 budget if it approved all recommended increases by department heads.
Some increases are unavoidable. For instance, health insurance hikes and state-mandated increases account for about $209,000 in additional expenses. The state is requiring that all elected officials receive a one-percent cost-of-living pay increase. Traditionally, the commissioners have extended any state-mandated cost-of-living increase to all employees, not just elected officials. Such a move this year would add $64,400 to the budget.