County revenues increase slightly
by By JOYANNA LOVE Banner Staff Writer
Aug 13, 2013 | 1203 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mike Smith
Mike Smith
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Revenues have slightly increased in Bradley County, according to Bradley County Trustee Mike Smith.

Sales tax collected in the county’s 2012-13 fiscal year totaled $4.29 million compared to nearly $4.23 million the previous year.

“The numbers are good and Bradley County I think is in good shape financially,” Smith said.

A slight increase was also seen in the sales tax collected in the city of Cleveland from $26.6 million in the 2011-2012 fiscal year to nearly $26.8 million in the 2012-13 fiscal year.

“The big winner this year is the city of Charleston,” Smith said. “They went from $149,775 to $261,197.”

Property tax revenue for real, personal and utilities was $40.6 million in 2012.

Increases have also been seen in interest earned by the county. Smith said the investment strategy that the county has used since 2006 has brought in considerably more interest than the previous plan. Nearly $4.166 million more in interest has been earned in the past seven years than would have been earned under the old system.

Partial payment plans are available through the Trustee’s Office. Property tax relief programs are available for those 65 years old and older and for those with permanent disabilities.

A new program coming to the office would allow county residents to receive their tax document via email. The trustee said they have received many requests to have tax bills available electronically. Smith said his department has already collected 526 email addresses on file. Statements via email will be an option starting in October 2014.

“There is also a program that we are looking at that alerts through text messages, saying to people that your property statement should be sent out by email in the next five days,” Smith said. “So that is some technology that we are looking at for next year.”

Mailed statements will still be used for those who do not want to receive notification by email.

- Bradley County Commission members will have a chance to review and vote on the Lake Forest Middle School Ad Hoc Committee’s recommendation at the next voting session.

Fourth District Commissioner J. Adam Lowe placed the recommendation on the agenda during Monday’s work session.

The recommendation would “fund the construction of 57 classrooms at Lake Forest Middle School to be built at a cost of no more than $14 million for construction as soon as funds become available, which is estimated to be budget year 2015-16.”

The ad hoc committee made the recommendation during a work session in May. However, it was never officially voted on. A plan that would have started the project earlier through funds from a tax increase was voted down last week.

- The fate of animals in the county was a cause for concern for resident Beirne Beaty. She spoke to the Commission during the work session. Beaty emotionally asked the Commission to do more to care for the dogs and cats that would have been cared for by the animal shelter if there was still an animal contract with the city.

“My opinion is you are shirking your duties,” Beaty said.

Lowe pointed out that county governments are not required by law to provide animal control or an animal shelter. He said he was in favor of letting a nonprofit address the issue. He said people who are passionate about the issue could fill the need in a better way than government could.

Chairman Louie Alford agreed.

Fourth District Commissioner Charlotte Peak-Jones suggested the Commission look into using a current building and inmate and volunteer labor to provide animal shelter services.

Fifth District Commissioner Jeff Yarber repeated a comment he had made in a previous meeting, stating that doing away with the animal contract with the city could cost the county more in the end, if it had to build its own shelter.