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Property tax increase for Jonesborough?

On June 30, the Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen passed a balanced budget for the new fiscal year that included a 5 percent pay increase for town employees and no increase in property taxes.
But that doesn’t mean property taxes won’t be going up. The BMA refrained from setting a property tax rate for the 2011-2012 fiscal year until August in order to spend more time addressing potential projects that could require the additional revenue source of a tax increase.
Those projects include building a new senior center, renovating the McKinney Center at Booker T. Washington School, building a new city garage complex, and buying both the Exxon Station and the old Jackson Theatre in downtown.
“If we want to pursue these projects, we’re going to have to prioritize and assess where we are with the property tax rate,” Jonesborough Mayor Kelly Wolfe said. “We don’t have room in our current budget to take on these projects. More than likely, some different revenue arrangement will be necessary.”
Wolfe said he is “in no way” advocating a property tax increase, but believes a “very public discussion” needs to take place about the potential projects.
“We don’t ever want to raise taxes, but if it’s good for the town, maybe we should consider it,” said Alderman Mary Gearhart.
“I think a good many of Jonesborough’s residents will be happy to go along with what we decide, but I appreciate including them in the decision.”
The town’s current tax rate is $1.18. According to Town Recorder Abbey Miller, a one penny increase in the tax rate generates approximately $13,000.
Members of the BMA unanimously approved tabling the setting of a tax rate, with Alderman Chuck Vest emphasizing the need to have a community forum to discuss the potential projects on the town’s plate.
“Getting feedback from residents is priority No. 1,” Vest said.
The property tax rate must be set by the end of August.
For details on the five potential projects, pick up a copy of this week's Herald & Tribune.