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Commissioners Propose Tax Rate

4-H HONORED -- Some of the Leon County 4-H students and their parents are honored at Commissioners Court.

Leon County Commissioners met Monday, August 8th, to face a long agenda. Commissioners Joey Sullivan, David Ferguson, Dean Stanford, and David Grimes were all present. Leon County Judge Byron Ryder presided.

The court discussed the certified tax collection rate for the 2016 tax year as delivered by County Tax Assessor / Collector Shafer. The effective tax rate is .464422. ?We have not raised our tax rate in eleven years,? said Commissioner Sullivan.

While all the commissioners agreed that they did not want to raise the tax rate, they discussed the fact that it will leave them $800,000 short for next year if there is no increase. The current tax rate is .417777 and has remained at this rate for years without an increase.

Commissioner Ferguson said, ?Even with keeping the tax rate down, we have still been able to make the repairs on the buildings in and around the square. We made a lot of improvements at the Sheriff?s Offices.? Commissioners, while not wanting to raise the county tax rate, will probably have to increase it at some point.

The agenda items concerning the tax rate and other budget items were tabled until the Commissioners hold their second meeting for the day at 1:30. This will be a budget workshop and the 2016 tax rate will be decided.

At the second meeting held at 1:30 on August 8th, commissioners agreed on a proposed tax rate of .459170. This is a slight increase from the last many years while the rate remained at .417777. A public meeting is scheduled for August 22nd following the regular Commissioners Court meeting to discuss the proposed tax rate and take any action.

The first meeting of August 8th, included a near hour long executive session. After reopening the closed session, the court approved 3 of the agenda items.

Commissioners approved an option concerning Exempted / Non Exempted employees to comply with the new employment laws that will go into effect October 1, 2017. Expo Manager Gene Darby will be assigned to Commissioner Ferguson. Election Official Donna Golden will be assigned to County Tax Assessor / Collector Robin Shafer. Social Services Director Donna Danford will be assigned to Judge Ryder. And Emergency Management Director Jim Carrigan will be assigned to Judge Ryder.

Commissioners approved paying Assistant Auditors Melissa Abney and Debbie Reeder for the extra work they did in the interim. The pay will be retroactive as of July 28th.

Commissioners approved hiring a part time Crime Victim Assistance Coordinator for Misdemeanor and Juvenile cases out of the County Attorney Office. This job will be posted in the local papers. The pay will be up to $12 an hour.

The rest of the agenda items were heard and discussed in open meeting.

The court heard a proclamation to recognize First Responders in Leon County and designating August 27th as ?First Responders Our Hero?s Appreciation Day.? The 4th Annual Dog Days of Summer will be held that day at Fort Boggy State Park. Friends of Fort Boggy will furnish hot dogs and snow cones and admission will be free that day.

Three of the cabins being built at the part for camping are very near completion. The public is invited to visit the park for the celebration and see what improvements have been made at Fort Boggy.

Approval was voted for the Polling Facility Reservation Agreements. The election will be held November 8th, with early voting starting October 24th and ending November 4th.

Approval was given to appoint Dorothy Powell, Teresa Smith, and Brenda Ray to serve as Election Judges and Alternate Judge for a one year term.

The court recognized some of the 4-H participants and their parents. There are 350 students in Leon County who participate in 4-H. And 175 of these have gone to district and state competitions. James Rodell of Buffalo is currently serving as a representative on the State Council.

The court agreed to replace Jimmy Hill with Jeanette Hurley on the Solid Waste Advisory Board of BVCOG.

The 2nd Quarter 2016 Investment Report was approved.

Commissioners decided to keep the Burn Ban in place.

Two agenda items were tabled --discussion of the Jones / Carter drainage study on CR 239, and action to abandon CR 2185.

The court voted to accept the unclaimed property money to promote and advertise Leon County for Economic Development. The unclaimed property is $16,549. It was decided that it would be used for Economic Development at the Expo.

Commissioner Stanford asked for permission to cut a ditch on private property to divert water that runs off onto CR 314 to prevent further damage of the road. The landowner has given permission for the ditch to be cut. The court approved this request.

Commissioner Ferguson also requested that the court permit him to enter private property on CR 279 and CR 221 to clean out creeks and culverts. This, too, was approved.

Approval was given for the Expo to split the cost of the engineering fees for a drainage system around the Expo. The Youth Livestock Organization is hiring an engineer for this project and requested the Expo?s help for the cost. The cost is estimated to be $13,000.

Approval was given for the submission of a Local Emergency Planning (LEPC) Grant Application for Communication equipment and appointed Judge Ryder as the authorized representative to act in all matters pertaining to the LEPC grant.

Approval was given to hire GrantWorks to prepare and submit the LEPC grant application for a fee of $2,500. The grant is for $210,000 and requires no matching funds from the county.

A road use agreement for CR 148 and 149 was approved.

County Treasurer Brandi Hill reported that the Senior Nutrition Department has received a donation of $1,258. Judge Ryder noted that recently the United Way has dropped Leon County and is not aiding our Senior Nutrition Department any longer. ?They dropped several counties,? said Ryder. ?We are looking into why this happened.?

Hill also said there was a donation of $20 to the Veterans Department, and a donation of $500 from Legacy Reserve for county reserve officers.