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Tax revenues up in Jefferson Co.

August 14, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.VA. -- Tax revenue in Jefferson County was up by $11 million in the 2007-08 fiscal year compared to the previous year, Jefferson County Sheriff Everett "Ed" Boober told the Jefferson County Commission Thursday.

Taxes collected on real estate and personal property such as automobiles totaled a little more than $52 million compared to the $41.1 million taken in during the 2006-07 fiscal year, Boober said.

The increase can be attributed to increasing tax bills as the values of homes have risen over the years, as well as new construction in the county, according to Boober and Commissioner Dale Manuel.

Although the values of homes now are decreasing, it can take time for dropping values to show up in tax bills because tax bills are a year behind, Manuel said.

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Boober said the revenue boost is good for county government, but not for taxpayers.

Some local residents have complained about their property tax bills rising by as much as 100 percent, and the commission and state lawmakers have been debating ways to provide relief for citizens.

One possible solution is increasing the amount of the homestead exemption, which is a tax break given to elderly property owners.

But changing the homestead exemption has been challenging because other counties in the state that don't have the growth like local counties would be hurt by such an exemption, the commission said Thursday.

The sheriff's department collects taxes in the county, and the department makes an annual report to the commission about how much revenue was collected.

About 85 percent of tax revenue goes to education and the rest goes to the county, municipalities and the state, Manuel said.

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