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No tax increase for county residents
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County residents will not see a property tax increase for the 10th consecutive year after commissioners last week voted to maintain the current rate.

Presently set at 8.138 mills, the county will base its 2014 spending plan on the approved digest, which includes valuations of about $959 billion of property in unincorporated Dawson and $63.6 million for the incorporated areas.

Commission Chair Mike Berg said budgeting for the year will be tight and departments should expect to remain flat for at least the next two years.

"But when we finish, we'll come up with something that's balanced and will not require us to increase above 8.138," he said. "I think we can manage with what we've got this year."

The millage rate is part of a formula used to calculate property taxes, where one mill equals $1 for every $1,000 in assessed property value.

District 1 Commissioner Gary Pichon had said he would have been in favor of raising the millage rate in an effort to recoup revenue lost due to a decline in property evaluations over the past several years.

According to the digest, revenue from property tax collections has dropped from $12 million to $8.3 million over the last five years.

Pichon said an increase would have allowed the county to make needed upgrades on roads, bridges and culverts.

He did not make a motion to increase the rate during last week's meeting.

Commissioner James Swafford's motion for the rate to remain at 8.138 was approved 4-0.

Berg is tentatively set to present the budget proposal to the full commission Aug. 8.

In a 3-0 vote July 12, the Dawson County Board of Education decided to raise its portion of the millage rate to 17.246, an increase of 1.7 percent.

For homeowners whose house is valued at $100,000, that amounts to about $40 more per year in taxes. There was no public opposition to the increase.