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Recommended county budget includes no tax increase

A recommended 2018-19 Henderson County budget funds 17 new deputies in public schools without a tax increase, County Manager Steve Wyatt said Tuesday.
Wyatt told the Local Government Committee for Cooperative Action, a quarterly joint meeting of leaders of the county and its municipalities, that his recommended budget keeps the tax rate level and funds the school security measure that Sheriff Charlie McDonald, the School Board and commissioners have all endorsed.

“We get calls about armed volunteers in the school," Wyatt said. "That is not something that’s in our plan. The plan is to put qualified vetted trained law enforcement officers in schools. But we don’t want to turn our schools into prisons.” In calls from the public, “the No. 1 feedback is (requesting) deputies.”
Wyatt said discussions with county school officials have produced agreement on priorities that also include electronic doors, warning systems, making windows safer “and command and control for those things.”

"Their top priority also is the safety and security of the school children. We’re doing more here than anywhere I know of,” he said.
In a brief discussion about the 2019 revaluation, Wyatt explained that the Board of Commissioners had for the last several revaluation cycles worked off of four-year spending cycles, setting a tax rate that will produce enough money for capital projects and expansion of services such as more deputies, ambulance crews or school nurses.
“So I anticipate the board will want to do that next year,” he said. “Based on the preliminary numbers it’s going to be an opportunity when it comes to a lower tax rate but there are also going to be challenges.”
The 2019 revaluation is expected to produce substantially higher assessments and present the question to the Board of  Commissioners and other governing boards of what tax rate to set.