published Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

No change for Polk County property tax rate

  • photo
    Polk County Commissioner Isaac Bramblett
    Photo by Paul Leach
MEETING HIGHLIGHTS

• Polk County property taxes for 2012-13 unchanged

• West Polk Fire & Rescue getting fire engine

• Isaac Bramblett named commission chairman

BENTON, Tenn. -- The Polk County property tax rate will not change, according to the 2012-13 budget approved by county commissioners.

During a recent meeting, Polk County commissioners approved next year's budget, which set the property tax rate at 2.18 cents per $100 of assessed value, the same as last year. The owner of a $100,000 home would pay $545 in property tax, figures show.

The commission also elected leaders for the new legislative year, approved a proposal to increase West Polk Fire & Rescue's engine fleet and addressed concerns of the county's planning board.

Commissioner Isaac Bramblett -- nominated by Commissioner Mike Curbow, last year's chairman -- was elected chairman of the commission. Wendell "Buster" Lewis was elected vice chairman.

In other business, commissioners voted 8-0 to approve the purchase of a $19,000 fire engine by West Polk County Fire & Rescue.

The truck would meet the particular needs of the Conasauga station, which has limited space for its vehicles, Fire Chief Stephen Lofty said. The station building, which is owned by the local Ruritan Club, cannot be modified by the fire department to accommodate larger fire engines.

"We've researched for nearly two years trying to find [a suitable] apparatus, and the problem that we run into is that every one that we found, the prices are $45,000 to $60,000, which is totally out of our reach," Lofty said.

The replacement truck, a 1996 fire engine with 100,000 miles of use, costs $20,000 less than a comparable vehicle, he said. It is designated to replace a 1980 model with 200,000 miles.

Lofty said most of the firetruck funding is in place, and that the fire department had received $18,000 in federal storm damage reimbursements for lost equipment.

Commissioners also voted 6-2 to approve Ivy Deal as a county executive nomination to the Polk County Planning Board, with Commissioners James Woody and Sheena Gaddis dissenting.

The seven-member planning board is understaffed and sometimes must cancel meetings simply because it cannot achieve a four-member quorum, said Mark Bishop, a member of the board.

Deal's experience in the county registrar's office will be helpful, he said.

"With her background, she will be an asset to the board," Bishop said.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.

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