Hundreds of residents gathered for a Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday after reports of a possible real estate property tax increase of up to 80% in the next year in their county. Although the supervisors said that the high-end increase is not probable at this time, there are still many unknowns. The Board conducted its regular meeting in the Supervisor meeting room in the Warren County Administration Building, but dozens of people overflowed into the hallway, leading the gathering to be moved to the auditorium downstairs. It was an outraged crowd and it was so close to get out of control, officials were a little worried for a while.
Chair of the Warren County Board of Supervisors, Darren Heater, addressed the gathering and said, “So if all these things happen, if inflation continues to go up and the state does pass legislation that reduces our revenue by 25% or 30% and crime continues, and we need more deputies, do you know we’re going to have to make some tough decisions.” Not too many people were aware of the proposed increase until Adam Hill, a Warren County farmer and Farm Bureau representative, raised awareness about it. “As a farmer, I think it was a business deal,” said Hill. “So if you are at 80% now, what’s your negotiation point, I mean you talk in the middle or meet in the middle, that’s 40%, and it’s still unacceptable.”
Real Estate Taxes at the Warren County Are Skyrocketing, and Homeowners Are at Risk with income tax
Many attendees felt that the number 80% came out of the blue as a shock. “You also feel like it’s a little bit of a threat,” said Hill. “When you’re talking to folks about an 80% increase potential to a real estate property tax, people are taking notice of that. I don’t think the word got out very well, at Farm Bureau, we sent an email out trying to get people aware and that’s what led to the meeting.”
The Warren County Supervisors will hold a public hearing on February 28th at 7 pm to try to determine the tax rate for next year’s budget. While the Board of Supervisors published 80% as the property tax increase, Heater says the actual levy will more likely be much smaller. “I would say the odds of that happening are 1 in a million. I would say there may be a nominal, like 10-cent to 20-cent increase in the rural basic rate, but I think anything beyond that would be an outlier,” Heater stated.
Residents Want to Preserve Their Real Estate Investments
However, some residents are still skeptical and want to see the assurance in writing. “I’m not encouraged yet with their responses because it’s just verbal. I need to see it in writing that they’re not going to seek that maximum,” said Bill Murphy, who lives in rural Warren County near Prole.
The meeting was a heated discussion about a potential increase, and some residents raised their voices at supervisors. But the supervisors spoke to the group to explain the situation and clarify that they are “pro-Warren County” and not trying to harm rural residents. “We’re pro-Warren County. That could be a city, that could be rural, we got to stop thinking it’s us against them,” responded Heater.