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.Posted: Wednesday, September 7, 2011 4:00 am | Updated: 7:45 am, Wed Sep 7, 2011.
Upshur County officials face $1 million shortfall By Christina Lane email@example.com  Longview News-Journal | 0 comments
GILMER — With Upshur County’s budget facing a $1 million deficit, commissioners on Tuesday considered reducing expenditures in a variety of ways, including potential 7 percent salary cuts to every department — and raising taxes.
Commissioner Cole Hefner said he would cut his $40,990 annual salary in half as Commissioner Mike Spencer did when he took office in January to contribute their portion toward employees not having to take a cut. Commissioner Lloyd Crabtree said he would take the same 7 percent cut that other employees might have to take, depending on how it all plays out when the county adopts its budget by Sept. 30.
“When (the public) lose jobs, take a pay cut ... they have to live within their means. We can’t just go out and raise taxes,” Hefner said. “The government can suffer along with the people.”
The commissioners working budget Tuesday afternoon showed revenues at about $10.5 million while expenditures were about $11.5 million.
The working budget was based on commissioners adopting an effective tax rate of 47.01 cents per $100 taxable value. Though the effective rate is about 3 cents higher than the county’s current tax rate, it will generate the same revenue as the current rate because overall property values in the county have declined primarily because of a drop in mineral values.
Raising taxes above the effective rate would require a rollback election and could balance the budget, but some commissioners, including Hefner, were opposed to that.
The budget must be balanced by Sept. 30 for adoption, and dipping into the county’s $2 million reserve funds to do the job was — absolutely — not an option for any of the commissioners.
“The bleeding’s got to stop,” Commissioner Mike Spencer said.
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