County short $500K in tax revenue: Board may raise taxes to make up for loss

Published 9:37 pm Saturday, August 8, 2015

A miscalculation in the Lincoln County Tax Assessor/Collector’s Office resulted in about $500,000 less in tax revenue for the year than the county budgeted, according to County Manager David Fields.

Fields said the miscalculation resulted in total assessed property values being listed as several million dollars too high. Tax-exempt properties were mistakenly added into the total, he said.

The Board of Supervisors set the millage rate for the current fiscal year based on the inaccurate total, resulting in a rate that was lower than it should have been, Fields said. That resulted in a loss to the county of about $531,000.

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The Board of Supervisors is currently deciding how to address the problem. It could either cut the budget in some areas to offset the loss or raise taxes. Fields said it would take an increase of 2.19 mills to generate $531,000 in tax revenue.

That would add $2.19 per $1,000 of property valuation to tax bills. For someone with property valued at $100,000, that would be an increase of about $200.

“Are we going to add those mills or are we going to work with the millage and dollars we have?” Fields said about how the Board of Supervisors would address the problem. “The board wants to keep the millage rate the same.”

The board was notified of the error this week, and plans to discuss the matter at a meeting next week.

Tax Assessor/Collector Rita Goss said the mistake was due to an error by Delta Computer Systems, a company that provides computing applications for county governments.

She said the county could use reserve funds to make up for the loss.