RUSK – Cherokee County Commissioner's Court members are preparing for both the upcoming fiscal year and special election in November, approving agenda items relating to each during Tuesday's regular meeting.
A list of 2019 tax roll items, presented by the Cherokee County Tax Assessor-Collector's office, that were green-lighted by the court included:
• A proposed tax rate of 59.5 cents per $100 property valuation, unchanged for several years;
• An effective tax rate of 56.05 cents – also assessed per $100 property valuation – which would generate the same amount of revenue as the previous fiscal year;
• A 100 percent anticipated collection rate – this included past due amounts collected by the county;
• Discounts for early payment – property owners remitting payment in October will receive a three-percent discount, while those paying in November receive a two-percent discount, and December payers get a one-percent discount. The full amount is due in January. Tax statements will be mailed out during the first week of October, according to the county's chief assessor, Linda Little.
• Presentation of certificate of railroad rolling stock value. “The state comptroller sets value on railroads that comes through the county, and we get to collect taxes on that value,” Little said, noting that it fluctuates from year to year, and that the amount goes into the county's coffers.
An Aug. 27 public hearing will set for discussing the tax rate, followed by a second such hearing on Sept. 10, she said.
The county's fiscal year runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, and traditionally adopts its budge in September.
In other action, county leaders voted to consolidate the number of polling places for a Nov. 5 Constitutional Amendment Special Election. Traditionally, the county has three sites set up during early voting period, which will remain unchanged, but on Nov. 5, a total of 14 polling sites – including those for combined precincts – will be open.
“The reason we consolidate is because the voter turnout is tremendously lower than any other state election,” according to Election Administrator Shannon Cornelius.
A list of polling sites – for both early voting and election day – will be posted by the Jacksonville Progress at a later date.
Also during the meeting, two requests from Precinct 1 were approved.
Commissioner Kelly Traylor, who represents the precinct, said the first involved a request from a property owner on County Road 1801, who owns property on either side of the road, which dead-ends on his property. The amount of road frontage is a small one, and the request isn't an unusual one, Traylor said, “especially if the property owner owns both sides of the road and it doesn't cut off access to any other property owners.”
A separate request from Traylor entailed permission to purchase sand from a private property owner, who also offered county crews permission to mix oil-sand on-site for road repair jobs.
“We normally buy from owners around precinct, and we have to dig then haul the sand to Rusk, so we can mix the oil-sand before hauling it to the job site,” Traylor said. “This is a win-win for everybody, because by allowing us to mix on the site, we're not having to haul it twice, which cuts down on costs for taxpayers.”
County leaders also:
• Approved a request to assist the City of Rusk with specific road projects;
• Approved a resolution to renew the county's guidelines criteria governing tax abatement agreements, something done on an annual basis;
• Approved a $10 road and bridge fee for vehicles, assessed when operators purchase license plates;
• Approved requests from the Craft Turney Water Supply Corporation for two separate road bores – one on CR 1411 and one on 1514;
• Approved the Cherokee County Sheriff's Department monthly report;
• Approved a consent agenda that included court meeting minutes, the monthly report from Pct. 2 Constable Jack White and authorizing payment of bills, payroll and transfer of funds; and
• Heard a presentation of the Cherokee County Adult Probation Department's proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
The meeting also included an executive session, for which no action was taken, as well as a budget workshop.