Grayson could tax twice a year

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By Ben Bomberger, Reporter

INDEPENDENCE — In an effort to both help citizens and improve the cash flow during the early months of the budget year, Grayson supervisors will consider switching to biannual tax collection.

The idea has been thrown around before, but supervisors jumped on the possibility last Tuesday during a budget workshop as a way to pay a bill coming due next fall.

The option was brought up as supervisors contemplated how they would have $1.2 million on hand by October 2010 to make a payment on the loan borrowed for Phase I of the school system's long-range facility plan — which includes Grayson Highlands School and renovations and additions to Fries Middle.

County Administrator Bill Ring reminded supervisors that the first few months of the budget year — July through September — tend to be the slowest time for cash flow. County taxes are typically due in December.

With the loan payment due in October 2010, the board has two options:

• consider the “split” taxes, with the first half due sometime between July and September 2010.

• include that $1.2 million payment in the 2009-10 budget.

Supervisors liked the idea of splitting taxes, noting that December was a difficult time for people to come up with the money anyway.

Ring said that it may be too late to make the changes effective for the 2009-10 year, as the county would have had to set the levy in March. That would have given the commissioner of revenue's office enough time to get the paperwork together and provide the information to the treasurer so bills could be sent out, with payments due in July.

However, Ring said it's not too late to consider the change this year if supervisors want to have the first bill due in August or September.

“This would help out our constituents,” Ring added. “Taxes are due at probably the worst time.”

Supervisor Brenda Sutherland added that she has had several elderly citizens express that December is a tough time to make the payment.

Supervisors' Chairman Mike Maynard then asked Ring and Assistant County Administrator Mitch Smith to begin working on a proposal that could be discussed at the board's May meeting, and to take steps to possibly make the change this year.

Supervisor Joe Vaughan noted, however, that it would be difficult to require farmers to pay half their taxes early in the fall, as they usually don't sell crops and/or livestock until later in the season.

Maynard added that the idea was just something the board could consider and talk more about at a later date.

The bottom line, Vice Chairman Larry Bartlett said, is that $1.2 million is due in October 2010, and one way or another the board had to have that money ready — or the county would be forced to borrow the money again.

• The supervisors plan to discuss the biannual tax idea further at their May 5 budget work session at 6:30 p.m.