Monday, August 31, 2009

Jefferson County town to double property taxes for businesses & citizens

Wrens City Administrator Arty Thrift sees no way around the city having to double its millage rate, effectively doubling property taxes for citizens and businesses this fall.

For the last several weeks Thrift and Mayor Lester Hadden have been visiting some of the city’s industries, who shoulder some of its biggest tax bills, to prepare them for this inevitability.
“Unfortunately, we’re going to have to raise taxes,” Thrift said, “and it’s going to be a substantial raise. I am expecting taxes to at least double. We have a difficult situation on our hands now and it isn’t pleasant. In the future, it could get worse. I hope not. Losing a major industry like Mestek doesn’t make anything easier.” Thrift said the raise in taxes will hit area businesses the hardest.

In 2008, one Wrens-based industry paid more than $40,000 in taxes.

The city’s millage rate, which is currently around 11 mills, Thrift said Monday, could go as high 21 mills by this fall.

The city has already begun taking steps to reduce its expenses, but without raising taxes, Thrift said, a balanced budget is impossible, and the city’s $8 million-plus in debts will continue to grow.
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