Northaven is one of the poorest communities in Shelby County. Raising property is a big deal, because it’s a neighborhood where people struggle to make ends meet. That’s why setting the tax rate is so important.
It is expected taxpayers will end up with a $0.01 decrease in property taxes.
The whole process is backwards. A week and a half ago, commissioners approved a budget for Shelby County. Now they approve a tax rate that will show them how much money they have to spend.
“Yeah,” Mayor Mark Luttrell admits, “… I’ve always had a little bit of an issue with the process.”
Mayor Luttrell says it would make sense to set a tax rate, find out how much money will be available, and then do a budget. State law says they can’t do it, so they don’t.
It doesn’t look like anybody is going to change things when the tax rate is set, even the guy who is often the most outspoken on the commission.
“We’ve got plenty of money to do what we need,” County Commissioner Terry Roland says. “We funded the schools. We dealt with them, came up with a good plan. Everything we want to do as a community, we’ve got the money to give some back.”
It’s not much. A one cent cut in the tax rate.
It wouldn’t have happened unless a compromise had been reached to fund Shelby County Schools.
They wanted $12-million more from the County Commission than last year. Mayor Luttrell wanted to give them $7-million. The deal is $7-million now and $6-million later in the year.
“It’s a way to do it that I think was very wise,” Luttrell says. “One we struck as a compromise, it was something that hopefully will establish a pattern moving forward.”
The end of the budget marks the end of an era as well. Term limits mean it is the end of 8 years in office for Mayor Luttrell and several County Commissioners including Roland, Chairman Heidi Shafer, and Walter Bailey.