Most of Craighead County will see property tax rates stay same - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Most of Craighead County will see property tax rates stay same

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – The time has come again for Craighead County to set property tax rates for next year.

Only one area in the county should see millage rates increase in 2014, which will likely come as welcomed news for many property owners.

Only people in the Brookland School District will have to pay more property taxes next year. That's because voters approved a 1.99-mill increase in September to fund construction of three new buildings.

For all other school districts and towns, the millage rates should remain the same as the previous year.

Craighead County officials have not sought to hike the property tax rate in years, allowing the portion that goes to the county to remain at 8.10 mills for another year.

"I think everyone in government recognizes that individuals feel as though they pay enough for services that they receive and so our goal is not to request additional funding," said Tony Thomas, the Craighead County judge's assistant. "Our goal is to work within the parameters that the public has provided us to provide a service that they either request or is required by law to provide."

Craighead County currently splits property tax revenue three ways – the county fund tax, the county road tax and the county library tax.

Thomas says the portion that goes into the county general fund helps the government operate.

"It funds just about every office in county government," he explained. "It funds our detention center and our sheriff's department. It funds our judicial system."

The rest of the revenue goes into separate funds for the Craighead County Library as well as the road department.

The county would normally have to seek voters' approval to raise the property tax rates for the county fund or county library, but Thomas says the county has more discretion to alter the county road millage.

"In this instance," he said, "the county has decided that revenues we have are sufficient to do the things that we currently strive to do."

The county has not had to raise any county property tax rates partly because the revenue only funds about 35 percent of the county's total operating budget. The county coffers are instead primarily filled with sales tax revenue. Thomas estimates about 65 percent of the county's overall funding comes from its one-cent sales tax.

"The sales tax, as you'll find with a lot of entities, sort of drives our process more so than the property taxes," he said. "The influx or decrease in sales tax determines the level of services we're able to provide."

"The levels that we're at right now," he added, "don't allow us to do everything that we would desire to do, but they do allow us to provide good quality service to Craighead County citizens."

The Craighead County quorum court will meet at 7 p.m. on Monday, and is set to approve property tax rates for 2014 at that time.

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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