County's budget hearing scheduled

May 21, 2000|By SCOTT BUTKI

A large crowd, including most of the Washington County Board of Education, is expected to attend the annual public hearing on the Washington County Commissioners budget on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

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The crowd will probably be larger than usual since a tentatively approved budget includes two tax hikes, County Administrator Rodney Shoop said.

There are new rules at this year's hearing.

Those wishing to speak must sign in, Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said. Those who sign in first will speak first, he said.

There will also be a timer this year, limiting people to five minutes.

Snook said he decided to implement those rules because last year some people didn't abide by his request of limiting speaking to five minutes.


School Board President Paul Bailey said most of the board will attend the hearing. They will speak on behalf of the school system and ask for more funding, Bailey said.

The county's $121.45 million proposed budget calls for $64.6 million for the School Board, or $1.6 million less than the School Board requested.

The meeting will be broadcast on Antietam Cable from 7-9 p.m., county spokesman Norman Bassett said.

At a May 2 meeting, the Washington County Commissioners tentatively approved a balanced budget, which they balanced by raising property and income taxes. A final vote on the tax hikes will come later this spring.

The commissioners voted 3-1 to increase the property tax rate to $2.37 per $100 of assessed value, which would raise $1.65 million more than the current rate of $2.31, according to budget documents.

That increase would cost the average taxpayer about $29 a year, according to the county.

They also voted to increase the income tax rate, which would cost the average taxpayer about $73 a year, according to county documents.

That would raise about $1.6 million.

The income tax increase would not take effect until Jan. 1, 2001. The property tax hike would be effective July 1, 2001, according to the county.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook voted against the tax hike and Commissioner William J. Wivell missed the vote because he was sick. Wivell has said he will vote against any tax hikes.

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