Commissioners bid farewell in final meeting

Budget Committee
Budget Committee gets wind of proposed budget. Pictured from left: County Attorney Carol Ann Barron, Doyle Montgomery, Bill Hollin, Jim Reed, Ron Masterson, Ronnie Raper, Finance Director William Watson, County Executive George Thacker, Tracy Taylor, Emily Fisher, Tom Smith, and Grover Parks (photo: Rhea Review / Elmer Harris)

Parting Commissioners give thanks and best regards to incoming commissioners

Dayton, TN — The current county commission convened for the last time yesterday.  The meeting served as their last opportunity to deal with the critical issues facing our county.  With a majority of commissioners voted out of office (5 out of 9), the new county commission will hopefully face these issues head-on.

Budget Committee looks for solutions

Rhea County’s new Finance Director, William Watson, offered a sobering recommendation to members of the budget committee as they reviewed the proposed 2014-15 budget.  Watson says if the proposed budget goes into effect, a 22.6% property tax increase will be required to balance the budget.

The proposed increase includes a state mandated property tax rate increase from 1.7496 to 1.8022.  This mandate ensures the county will bring in the same revenue as the previous year.   The median property tax in Rhea County, is currently $494 per year for a home worth the median value of $102,600.  Rhea County collects, on average, 0.48% of a property’s assessed fair market value as property tax.

To avoid further property tax increase such as the recommended 22.6%, the newly elected county commission will be forced to examine items in the proposed budget with a fine-toothed comb.

Rhea County Commission Adjourns

In closing, commissioners expressed sentiments of appreciation for the opportunity to serve the citizens of Rhea County.  Parting commissioner Ron Masterson, serving District 1 in Spring City, offered some common sense advice to incoming commissioners.

“You’ve gotta have more revenue, or you’ve gotta cut something out,” said Masterson.

Masterson will be succeeded by Terry Broyles, who won the August general election for District 1.  Broyles will join newly elected members such as Billy Davault, Harold Fisher, Caroline Housley, and Eddie Francisco.  These new members will be tasked to work with current commissioners Jim Reed, Bill Hollin, Emily Fisher, and Tom Smith to ensure Rhea County tax dollars are carefully spent.

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