July 7, 2014

Hand with money

Don’t let the BOC misrepresent the recent property tax increase by using “new math” to explain it.

The expenditures shown in the new FY15 budget are $1,000,000 more than the FY14 budget. The BOC raised your property taxes 2.15 mils and transferred money from the Curbside fund to have enough money to pay for all these expenditures. Total expenditures are $9,299,012.

Here’s an example of how the new math the BOC uses works. Let’s say you have an annual household budget of $30,000. Your income is only $25,000, but you happen to have $5,000 saved up in a special account. You decide to use that $5,000 to meet your $30,000 budget. According to the BOC that $5,000 miraculously does away with $5,000 of expenses, and according to their new math, you only spend $25,000. Reality is you spent $30,000! Yep! But according to Comm. Trammell, the county manager, and the rest of the BOC, they can transfer $480,000 out of another account and somehow $480,000 of expenses disappear, the budget becomes $8,819,001, and they say that is all they are going to spend because the savings they used doesn’t count!

Half-truths and smoke and mirrors have been used a lot by the BOC during this budget process and in setting the millage rate. They have taken a page out of Congress’ play book.

Here’s how the budget process really worked. They took last year’s budget ($8,289,600) and let all the departments, including their department, add to the budget with their needs and their wants —such as laptops for each of the commissioners. This new budget also included a proposed increase in health insurance from the previous year of over $200,000. Then the BOC started cutting—not from the FY14 budget but from the new proposed budget with all the inflated wants added in. By taking out the laptops they wanted, the BOC said it cut the budget by $10,000. When they got a different health care plan that was cheaper than the old health plan with the increased premium, they said they cut the budget by $200,000. In reality health insurance cost the BOC an additional $2,783.08 over the previous year.   To use the health insurance premiums as an excuse to raise the property taxes is just that, an excuse. It is not based on reality.

The landfill problems are causing additional expenses; however, those will be covered with the money transferred out of the curbside account with $130,000 to spare to do away with furlough days (according to the county manager’s figures). This doesn’t mean the $480,000 of costs won’t actually be spent!

The BOC has made it sound as if they cut the budget. You can’t cut what didn’t exist to start with.


During the budget process the BOC did acknowledge the intense pressure of price inflation on consumer goods. And, rightly so. We all know this from first-hand experience facing budgets burdened with the rising cost of food, gas, clothes, housing, transportation, heating and cooling costs and other basic necessities of life. But, then the BOC goes on to conclude that due to the increase in the cost of consumer goods, the only option left to county government is to increase the financial burden felt by Jasper County taxpayers by raising our property tax.

Since the BOC likes to compare our property taxes with 2009 here is a fact. In 2009 the county levied $5,166,292 of property taxes—this included money for the hospital. In 2014 the BOC has voted to levy $5,457,541 of county taxes plus $316,042 of taxes for the hospital for a total of $5,773,583—the highest amount of property taxes levied in Jasper County history.   Taxes levied are property taxes and do not include the various other monies collected that are reflected in the budget.  These figures do NOT include School taxes or City of Monticello taxes or the garbage fee.

Only by being informed can the citizens understand what is being done and make good decisions. That is our goal with the Taxdogs blog.       

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  1. Dennis Hart says:

    If they are really intending to attract industry and corporations to Jasper County the FIRST
    thing they need to do is replace everyone on the Jasper County Development Authority. I have
    lived in Jasper Co. a long time and have not seen any more than one fireworks company move
    in. They (the development (?) auth) have helped other counties get industries, at some expense
    to Jasper taxpayers, but little or nothing for Jasper Co. itself.
    I’ve never seen any sort of report on what they are doing, planning to do. They say they have
    to keep things confidential — no doubt, giving away millions of dollars of taxpayer money to a
    for profit company to build in another county and then raising MY property taxes to cover it.
    We need to get rid of these people and get someone who actually wants to improve things in
    THIS county.
    The impression one gets from observing all this is: These “development” people do not want
    any development in Jasper Co.

  2. Freda Diaz says:

    Commissioner Bruce Henry echoed those words saying, “We are setting an environment to be friendly to companies, and conducting ourselves to be inviting to industry.” Commissioners Gene Trammell and Craig Salmon echoed their agreement with Mr. Luke’s remarks.

    So we invite companies to set up shop in Jasper county and be tax free…And charge the people of the county with their high tax bills…how is that helping the county? Is everyone in the county going to be on these companies payroll, or is it just going to be a few..or…are the employees going to be hired from other counties. Can these comm. guarantee any, and I mean ANY benefits for the people of Jasper Co.?

  3. Facebook comment says:

    Only the mind of the ignorant l bureaucrat would seek to excuse adding more tax burden on those who pay by reminding them the cost of living has gone up, as if they weren’t already aware of the bankster borne inflation in the cost of staying alive.

    The current BOC will likely go down in Jasper County history as one of the most deceitful and conniving and arrogant administrations this county has ever has the misfortune to bear witness to. For example: Commissioners Approve FY15 Budget–

    He [Doug Luke] said this group of commissioners is dedicated to moving Jasper County forward.
    Commissioner Bruce Henry echoed those words saying, “We are setting an environment to be friendly to companies, and conducting ourselves to be inviting to industry.” Commissioners Gene Trammell and Craig Salmon echoed their agreement with Mr. Luke’s remarks.

    Regrettably Mussolini, Hitler and Stalin all fervently proclaimed to be moving their nation FORWARD, but those suffering under these tyrants hammer soon learned that just because one was moving FORWARD did not necessarily mean that they were going to a better place.

    Until people accept the reality that economic prosperity is not borne of oppressive regulation and/or central planning by those who have never independently produced anything in their lives outside of methane gas, the economy will continues to decline and tax feeders will keep on chipping away at the wealth of the productive all the while singing their own praises about how they’re moving you forward.

    Ecclesiastes 1:9
    New King James Version (NKJV)
    9 That which has been is what will be,
    that which is done is what will be done,
    and there is nothing new under the sun.

  4. Facebook comment says:

    That’s not new math. That’s a bunch of crap and prevarications. They must think we’re really stupid to not see thru this.

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