Poinsett County Readies For Tax Increase

JUNE 23, 2004 -- POSTED AT 4:37 PM CDT


HARRISBURG- County officials don’t know how, but they do know Poinsett county residents will be paying more in taxes by the end of the year.  County Judge Dole Hillis says the county is in dire straights after years of running certain county agencies in the red.  Adding the county cannot continue on the same path for much longer.


            Judge Hillis showed K8 news a document of the three county agencies causing the deficit.  Last year alone, the county jail, E-911 offices, and county dump cost more than seven hundred thousand dollars more than they brought in.  Judge Hollis says the county has been running in a deficit for years although he only showed K8 news the past three years.


            Judge Hollis says there are two solutions.  One would be an increase in the county millage by four mills.  This would, according to Judge Hillis, cost county residents about three to four hundred more a year on property tax.  The other solution is a one cent sales tax.  A local business owner says if past, and after a state tax kicks in, county residents would pay 9.25 cents on the dollar.  Judge Hillis says the tax would raise 1.7 million a year for the county.


            County residents will be able to vote for a new sales tax September 28th, in essence voting against an increase in millage.  Millage rates can be raised without a special vote.  And Judge Hillis promises millage rates will be raised if the September tax hike fails.


            Even with the revenue generated by a millage hike or tax increase, Judge Hillis says changes for county run agencies are going to happen soon.  He says years of running in the red has the county needing to be more economically sound in the upcoming year.