To approve the tax increase, the county conducted two public hearings. The second hearing convened one hour before the March 20 fiscal court session. Approximately 50 people attended. Before public comments, Judge Executive Stan Humphries and Magistrate Doug Taylor presented the court’s position on increasing the fee.
“We have gone through the budget and found ways to make cuts. There will be more cuts to come. Even with cuts made, we are still not keeping the level of county services at the level they need to be,” said Humphries. “We were elected to do more than just pay the bills. The court is looking to the future to make the changes and alterations needed to put Trigg County where it needs to be where we are proud of the level of services available.”
Taylor offered a Power Point presentation to the audience of at least 50 county residents gathered in the Courthouse Annex. “In the past 20 years, we have seen a population increase and a changing demographic. That means a higher demand on our infrastructure, including roads, water lines, and unfortunately jail and law enforcement.” Taylor said that more legally mandated services existed, such as 911 dispatching, emergency services and higher standards of jailing prisoners and law enforcement. He emphasized that the county needed additional funding to compete with other municipalities in economic development.
According to Taylor, other means of generating revenue had been considered, including increasing a property tax or employing a payroll tax on county businesses. He said that the court resisted the payroll tax because it could “stifle economic growth,” and that a property tax would need to expand from the current seven percent to 13.9 percent to equal the insurance tax increase’s projected revenue.
Some of the needs outlined by Taylor within the county budget requiring increased funding included maintaining current services, improving law enforcement and recreational facilities and funding economic development efforts to attract new businesses to the area.
During the public comments section of the hearing, local resident Jerry Nanny said that many county businesses operated on a slim profit margin, and that a payroll tax could “tax them out of business.”
Read more on the insurance premium fee in your latest Cadiz Record.