Walker County Property Tax Increase to Pay for Public Safety Increases | Local News
Walker County Commissioners are nearing the final stage of completing a $ 43.2 million budget, nearly 10% above last year’s spending plan, saying bills d The higher taxes will help cover salary increases for public security employees.
Commissioners expect to adopt a tax rate of 48.28 cents per $ 100 of assessed property value to fund the budget. The rate will effectively equate to a 0.4% property tax rate hike due to a continued boom in home values.
According to County Auditor Patricia Allen, the average property valuation rose from $ 162,469 in 2020 to $ 176,267 in 2021, a jump of 7.8%. The proposed tax rate is three cents above the “rate without new tax” and 0.2 cents above the current rate. However, according to Allen, the average homeowner will see an annual increase of $ 69.87 on their tax bill for Walker County taxes if the proposed rate is approved.
But commissioners justified the $ 3.8 million increase, saying it bridges much-needed pay gaps with sheriff’s office, jail and EMS employees, compared to surrounding jurisdictions.
“As a court, we have always focused on the flat tax rate and we kept everything except public safety in these expenses, and took the three cents it cost to fix salaries at the office of the Sheriff, EMS and Jail, ”Commissioner Bill Daugette (Pct. 3) said. “It will put us almost identical to where we were this year, which is quite an accomplishment.”
If approved, the proposed tax hike would be the first jump above the no-new tax rate since 2013.
The county has also increased the salaries of other staff members for a county-wide salary study.
The actions taken by the court on Monday included:
• approve the hiring of Rahcel Parker as the new director of Walker County EMS.
• extension of the disaster declaration for COVID-19.
• Approve applications for membership in the Walker County Historical Commission for Tina Sanders and Roberta Cowan.
• Approve a request from Huntsville Main Street to use the Ernst parking lot for the town’s farmers market.
The next scheduled meeting of the Walker County Commissioners Tribunal is scheduled for August 16.