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Kent Carper proposes Kanawha levy rate decrease

Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper is proposing a slight decrease in the county's levy rate.

Carper will make the proposal during today's meeting in commission chambers at 5 p.m.

The base county levy rate on property taxes in Kanawha County is 14.3 cents per every $100 of valuation, Chief Fiscal Officer David Fontalbert said.

Carper wants the rate rolled back to 14.1 cents, he said.

He acknowledged that the tax rate rollback would have little effect on the individual taxpayers, reducing their property taxes by only a few dollars a year. But he still believes it is the "right thing to do." 

"So people would probably ask why we should do this at all," Carper said. "We should do it because it will put some money back into the economy.

"And the county shouldn't bring in more money than what it needs," he added.

The rollback, if approved, would mean the county would collect about $500,000 less in property taxes during the upcoming fiscal year, according to figures provided by Fontalbert.

If the levy rate were to remain the same, the county would collect a little over $41 million in property tax revenue, Fontalbert said. If the commission passes the rollback, the county would collect about $40.6 million, he said.

The current levy rate has been in place for the past two years, Fontalbert said.

The base rate is used to calculate property taxes for residential and commercial property inside and outside municipalities.

The property tax rate for residential properties is currently 28.6 cents per every $100 of valuation. That would be reduced to 28.2 cents for every $100 of valuation if the rollback were approved.

The property tax rate for commercial properties in incorporated and unincorporated areas is currently 57.2 cents per every $100 of valuation.

If the proposal is approved, that rate would decrease to 56.4 cents per every $100 of valuation.

Carper is hoping county commissioners will vote on the $51.4 million budget for fiscal year 2013-2014 today, he said. Property taxes make up about three-fourths of that total, Carper said. 

The budget must be submitted to the state auditor's office by March 28.

Increased expenses will eat up any increase in revenue, Carper said.

For example, Fontalbert is proposing that the special health fund, which is used to cover medical expenses for county employees, be increased by $1 million to $6.8 million for the upcoming fiscal year.

Fontalbert is also proposing the regional jail fund be increased by $133,000 to $4.8 million in the upcoming fiscal year, he said. 

Contact writer Paul Fallon at paul.fallon@dailymail.com or 304-348-4817. Follow him at www.twitter.com/PaulBFallon


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