Washington County holds truth-in-taxation hearing

Citizens attending Washington County’s truth-in-taxation hearing on Dec. 1 indicated they were more concerned about the valuation of their property and its impact on their taxes than about county spending.

Deputy Administrator Molly O’Rourke presented the proposed 2006 county budget at the meeting, noting that even with the implementation of several service improvements in 2006, Washington County still expects to have the second lowest tax rate in the state next year.

The county budget calls for expenditures of $150.3 million, a 5.5 percent increase over 2005. The increase funds service improvements in areas such as law enforcement, child welfare, libraries and license centers. O’Rourke said increases for 2006 will bring county staffing levels back to what they were in 2003 before state budget cuts forced significant reductions in the county budget.

About 11 citizens came to the hearing. Some of those who addressed the County Board of Commissioners raised questions about their property valuation and how that affected their taxes.

Personnel with the County’s Assessment, Taxpayer Services and Elections Department met individually with residents who raised concerns. The board reminded taxpayers that each March the county mails a valuation notice to each property owner and if there are questions they may call the department and speak with an appraiser by calling 430-6175.

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