Some Sanford residents could face property tax increase

Sanford homeowners should put some more money into their budgets for next year.  Property taxes will go up for many home and business owners.

Monday night, commissioners set a tentative millage rate of 7.325 mills, which would be one half mill increase over this year.  The average homeowner would pay $50 more in property taxes compared to this year.

Commissioner Art Woodruff proposed a higher tax rate so city workers can get a pay raise and to pay for road and infrastructure projects.

He says, "We need to do something for our employees in terms of salary, and we've got a lot of capital maintenance."

Woodruff adds if commissioners use $1.2 million from the city's reserve fund, they might not have to raise the property tax rate after all.

Still, Woodruff points out, even if city leaders keep the millage rate right where it is this year, some people will still pay higher property taxes next year.

He explains, "As property values increase and as we've had additional development within the city, there will be some tax increases even at the same millage rate."

Mayor Jeff Triplett wants to hear from the people on property taxes.

He says, "Let the commercial people come and talk to us who own commercial property.  Let's let the residents come to us and see what's out there and see what they say."

Triplett says property values jumped seven percent in the last year in Sanford, part of the reason why some people will pay higher taxes. Triplett wants to make sure taxes do not climb so high that new business owners decide not to invest in the city.

He says, "We want people to come in and be the investment arm of us."

No residents stood up to speak at Monday night's meeting when commissioners opened up the microphone on the taxes issue.  Mayor Triplett believes more people will have a lot more to say as the discussion continues.

City commissioners will take a final vote on the property tax rate and the city's budget for next year in mid- September.

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