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Something to think about / March 27, 2014

Dear Viewpoint:

The talk about raising the county real estate tax began as soon as the slightly lowered 2014 tax assessment was published. To throw in a few big words, the county is to maintain a “revenue neutral real estate tax rate”. Without the increase, the county budget will threaten to be out of balance. My question is, with the ten plus years of the county real estate boom prior to the recession, how many times did the county property owners see a reduction in their tax rate. One small plot of land out of the town limit was taxed at $50.36 in 2004. It was taxed at $100.77 in 2013. It is 200 percent of tax in nine years, recession or not. How about the 3-4 million dollars back owed tax in real estate which the county has not collected? The actual debt is much larger, but the county can only go back a limited number of years to collect it. Even though the county plans a budget every year, we did not hear about the year-end outcome, with a significant portion of the budgeted tax revenue uncollected. Would the proposed increase in the real estate tax rate exacerbate the problem of uncollected tax?

Alice Rhett, Alton

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