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Grady Hawkins was a new Henderson County commissioner for less than a minute before he made news.
After thanking the voters for putting him back in office, he urged his fellow commissioners to join him in lowering the property tax rate from 51.36 cents per $100 valuation to 50 cents — a 2.7 percent cut.
"And I tell you why," he said in an interview after a short session Monday night that included the election of Charlie Messer as chair and the swearing in of Messer and Hawkins to four-year terms. "The county can provide the same good level of service we've had for the last several years (and lower the rate). We've had an increase in revenue from the property tax and a little bit from the sales tax and it's time to pass that on to everybody."
Hawkins said he was interested in helping average families that are struggling but he said another positive effect would be to lower the tax bill businesses pay for personal property.
"It's an opportunity to take that money and expand your business and when you do that you create jobs," he said. "It's time to walk the walk not just talk the talk."
Hawkins' idea for lowering taxes was not entirely new. During the campaign for the seat last spring, he said when asked about the county's large fund balance that commissioners could vote to either do more for schools or give some back to taxpayers by rolling back the rate.
"I think it will help our county," he said. "People are struggling out there."