In Oct. 1 Issue
After some delay the court approved a total 4 percent increase in real estate taxes, purchased voting machines and paid the bills for a bid process on the jail which has since been thrown out.
There was an extended silence following a motion to send the county's tax rates for printing during Russell County Fiscal Court's special called meeting Monday morning.
County Clerk Lisha Popplewell brought the rates set by the various entities around the county for the court's final approval so the tax bills could be printed, but a motion to allow it went unanswered.
Eventually the discussion moved to the purchase of new voting machines for the county.
Popplewell said about $72,000 of the cost will be reimbursed to the county through the state, but that is the cost of the machines.
She said there would be about $15,000 in cost to the county for supplies and the shipping cost which would not be reimbursed.
The court unanimously approved the purchase of the new machines; to replace what Popplewell said were outdate machines that parts were no longer available for.
After that matter was dealt with County Judge-Executive Mickey Garner brought the magistrate's attention back to the tax rates, and bills.
"I don't feel like you are doing what you are supposed to," Garner said to the magistrates. He stressed that though they may have run on "no tax increase," the boards' meetings where-in they set those rates were open to them and the public.
He stressed that they could have gone to those meetings and could have addressed any concerns they had about rate increases then, but no when the tax bills need to be printed was too late.
Gary Robertson, who had motioned earlier for approval of the rates did so again and this time Jimmy McQueary seconded and the vote was 3-2 in favor with Greg Popplewell and Steve Bledsoe in opposition. Magistrate Ronald Johnson was absent.
Russell County Property Valuation Administrator Brooke Bunch said the county's rate on real property this year will be $8.76 per $1000 of appraised value, and last year's rate was $8.42 which would make the new rate 4 percent higher.
Next the fiscal court, then the property development corporation, approved the sale of 20-year revenue bonds for construction of the Judicial Center.
That property development corporation is made up of the fiscal court members and met after the fiscal court meeting.
The court, before adjourning, approved $14,000 in bills for the last bid package on the jail construction project.
The construction bids came in at nearly $5.8 million though the bonds being prepared for the project total less than $5 million for the actual construction costs.
Garner said those bids would be thrown out and the designs are being re-worked so bids can be sought again in two weeks.