Franklin County Commissioners voted today to adjust the local sales and use tax by a half-cent, effective October 1, 2005.
The half-penny increase is expected to generate about $88 million annually. $44 million of that amount will be designated to restore the county’s cash reserve balance, and the quarter-penny which generates that amount will be retired December 31, 2007.
The other quarter-cent will continue to support operating needs including law enforcement, public safety and security, and essential services.
Commissioners said that they would still need to cut four percent, or $12 million, for their 2006 budget to balance, as required by law.
The commissioners’ action means the county’s sales tax rate will move from 6.25 percent to 6.75 percent. Franklin County becomes one of 11 other counties in the state to change its local or “piggyback” sales tax this year. Two more counties are considering changes.
Commissioners Mary Jo Kilroy and Paula Brooks voted in support of the measure; Commissioner Dewey Stokes voted against it.
Commissioner Kilroy, President of the Board of Commissioners, said “This is a very serious budget situation; one which could jeopardize our safety and security, as well as our bond and credit ratings.”
The sales tax rate in Franklin County has not been changed since 1985.
County Administrator Don Brown said that, without any change in the sales tax, cuts of 20 percent would have to be made in order to balance the budget. Several county elected officials, including the Prosecutor, Sheriff, and Judges testified during public hearings earlier in the week that the recommended cuts of eight percent would result in lay-offs in their offices.