Property owners will now pay five-cents more on their real estate taxes.
The Madison County Board of Supervisors approved the county budget last week and with it a five-cent increase in the real estate tax rate. The new rate is approximately 7 percent higher than what would have been the equalized tax rate of $.654 cents per $100 of assessed value. In the recent reassessment, the total assessed value of real property increased by approximately 3.9 percent.
The fiscal year 2020 budget, totaling approximately $42 million ($25 million of which is in the general fund), is built around the idea that existing services will continue while the county also addresses a series of challenges that have existed for several years, said county administrator Jack Hobbs. Those challenges include the need for a new public safety radio system, IT concerns and a renovation of the Madison Primary School.
Included in the budget is a new investigator position at the sheriff’s office and a county employee focused on IT. They are also vehicle replacements for various departments; a partially grant funded ambulance and cardiac monitor for EMS as well as an ultrasound machine; the beginning of the public safety radio system; funds to consolidate Thrift Road and the Main Street Administration Complex; funds to deal with Criglersville Elementary School; and the beginning of the Madison Primary School renovation. A 3 percent Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) is included for employees, as well as some pay adjustments for those who have obtained additional certifications in their respective fields.
The budget also includes approximately $1.2 million set aside in contingency to cover a variety of items which still need additional information including the implementation of the IT and compensation studies; funds to take EMS to a fully paid system; a proposed 30.8 percent increase in health insurance; and funds to cover a new transfer fund contract which is currently out to bid. The budget doesn’t include any new debt, but Hobbs said borrowing is likely to occur next fiscal year.
The budget is balanced using approximately $1.1 million in fund balance as well as nearly $955,000 in additional real estate revenue due to the five-cent tax increase.
The first half of real estate taxes is due June 26. The second half is due Dec. 5.