New Castle News

January 1, 2014

Commissioners raise taxes

Mary Grzebieniak
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Lawrence County residents will pay about a half mill more in county taxes in 2014.

County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to raise taxes by .435 mills, which they said amounts to less than a seven percent increase. A homeowner with a house assessed at the county average of $78,000 will pay about $36 more annually. Most of the increase will go to the general fund, but a small amount will go toward paying off the county’s debt. The last county tax increase was a .950 millage hike in 2009. One mill of taxation brings in $3.5 million.

The new county millage total is 6.698 and of this, 6.154 mills are earmarked for general county operations, .434 mills for debt service and .110 mills to support the county’s three libraries.

Officials said that during the past year, the county’s assessed value grew from $3.504 billion to $3.517 billion, an increase of only one third of one percent. Since 2009, there has only been a 1.9 percent increase, they said.

Commissioner Dan Vogler also noted that the county’s actuary calculated that the county must contribute $1.07 million to fully fund the pension fund as required by law. The amount is less than last year’s required contribution of $1.55 million.

The county’s general fund budget, which pays for operating costs, is $29.1 million for 2014, an increase of .72 percent or less than one percent higher than 2013.