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County certified tax rate exceeds limits, goes through reapproval

By Meg Dickens
Freelance Writer

The Johnson County government received a shock when contacted about something already approved, it’s budget. A small change made automatically by the current software used by the county caused the balanced budget to fall out of order by a minute amount. The Tennessee Comptroller’s office reportedly contacted Johnson County to notify its officials that it was “not in compliance” when realizing that the county went over with its certified tax rate.

According to Director of Accounts and Budgets Russell Robinson, the error accounted for the county being over “three-one hundredths of a cent,” which would generate approximately $108 more than the certified tax rate would allow. To correct the issue, the county voted to reapprove the tax levy without rounding numbers and run a tax notice in The Tomahawk stating what had occurred. The cost for this move would reportedly be more than the calculated overage, according to Robinson.

“I will say this, it was an oversight on my part,” Robinson admitted to the county commissioners. “I will hopefully be around to place the request five years from now and, if we have a fraction cent in the tax rate, I will make sure we leave it as a fraction cent, or we run the notice saying that we’re exceeding the rate.”

This issue could be a reminder of how necessary updates are for entities such as local government. According to Chairman Scott Mast, the only comments on the subject from the Budget Committee revolved around the need for software capable of rounding rates to two decimal points, which would eliminate this possibility in the future. At this time, it is unclear whether officials plan to replace the current software before the next recertification period.

The county set aside five minutes for any public comments on the subject but received none from the audience and only the previously mentioned comment from officials.

Anyone interested in attending the county’s meetings can do so on the third Thursday of each month at 7 pm in the Johnson County Courthouse. Officials allow anyone with an issue to address the commissioners before focusing on the items set for that night.