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— Benton County justices of the peace approved a millage change during Thursday night’s Quorum Court meeting that will result in a one-tenth of a mill decrease in taxes collected in 2010.

Under the new millage rates, the taxes collected for the county general fund will be raised from 4.8 mills to 5 mills while the county road fund tax is lowered from 2.2 mills to 1.9 mills.

The term mill refers to onethousandth of a currency unit. For each $100,000 of appraised value of a house, 1 mill equals $20. So, for each $100,000 of appraised value of a home or property, the tax reduction is $2. Homeowners whose house carries an appraised valueof $200,000 can expect to see their taxes lowered by $4.

The purpose for changing the millage rates is to ensure more money collected through the county taxes stays in county government rather than being disseminated to the cities, County Judge Dave Bisbee has said previously, noting that only 36 percent of the monies collected through the road tax go into the county’s budget while the remaining 64 percent is distributed amongst the cities. All of the money collected through the county general tax goes into the Benton County budget.

Justices Marge Wolf and James Wozniak voted against the measure because of the harm it can cause smaller cities.

Bella Vista will lose between $25,000 and $30,000 in the millage rate change and that is a loss the citysimply cannot handle, Wozniak said.

“I am not against the tax decrease. I am against the eftects it will have,” Wozniak said. “It is going to hurt the smaller cities.”

The cities that will see the largest decreases in tax revenues as a result of the county’s millage change are Siloam Springs, which will receive between $50,000 and $55,000 less in tax revenues, Bentonville, which will receive $250,000 less in tax revenues and Rogers, which will see the biggest loss at $325,000, County Comptroller Richard Mc-Comas said.

Members of the Quorum Court also voted unanimously to increase the amount the county charges the cities to house prisoners in the county jail. The new fee, set to go into eft ect Jan. 1, will be $40 per day, up from $32.50 per day, Justice Bobby Hubbard said.

Justices pass emergency phone systemFrom Staff Reports

BENTON COUNTY - Justices of the peace serving on the Benton County Environmental Committee placed their stamp of approval on an emergency telephone notification system for county use duringa meeting held on Thursday night.

The notification system is designed to place phone calls and to send text messages or e-mail in the event of an emergency to Benton County residents.

The system can also be activated for Amber Alerts,crime alerts, school closings and other information in the event of an emergency, said Jay Burchfield, a business development regional manager for Cooper Notification.

The cost of the system is $100,000 for the first year and $20,000 for each year thereafter.

News, Pages 8 on 11/25/2009

Print Headline: Officials eye lowering millage by 1/10th of a mill

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