"In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."
- Benjamin Franklin
The Warren County Commissioners are poised to raise your property taxes, though not by much.
Three quarters of a mill added to the current rate of 18.75 mills is the first county tax rate increase in nearly 10 years. The 4 percent hike in the rate averaged over that time produces an annualized increase of less than one-half of a percent per year. That's not a bad average considering that government is not immune to certain increases in costs of operation.
No one likes to pay more taxes, and we're not inviting taxpayers to dance in the streets, but rather keep it in perspective. If your home has an assessed valuation of $50,000 (half of its market value) your county tax bill will go from $937.50 to about $975 per year, or about 37 bucks and change.
Except for 2009 when the Great Recession produced an annual inflation rate in the negative (-0.34 percent), over the last decade average rates were between 1.59 percent and 3.85 percent as computed by the
Bureau of Labor Statistics. The current rate of inflation is 2.2 percent, and between 2002 and 2012 consumer prices overall have increased about 28 percent.
Obviously consumer prices include many things that county government doesn't spend your tax dollars on. But, county workers are consumers as well as taxpayers, and we're sure they would like a raise to simply keep up with inflation. Nobody is getting rich on a county job.
We believe the Warren County Commissioners have done a good job over the last decade keeping a lid on tax increases. At some point even the most frugal of public servants are forced to face the reality of increased fixed costs. It's never pleasant telling taxpayers they need to pay more, and the commissioners are fortunate that they haven't had to do it annually.
As Scarlett O'Hara expanded on Franklin's observation: "Death and taxes and childbirth! There's never any convenient time for any of them! "