Ford County makes sacrifices to avoid raising taxes

DODGE CITY, Kansas – In Ford County, commissioners didn’t want to raise taxes next year, even though they’re expecting less money for their budget.

Ford County commissioners are looking at less money coming in for 2015 due to lower property values and less funding from the state.

In an effort to keep property taxes down, the commission is attempting to keep the mill levy the same by making some cuts to services.

“It’s going take some cuts, they’re painful to make,” said Shawn Tasset, a County Commissioner. “This kind of thing carries with it, a human impact.”

In the preliminary budget, Ford County officials have cut a little more than $100,000. Commissioners asked county funded departments to see what they could cut out, and the sheriff stepped up to the plate.

“I know that money is tight, county wide, and so, I guess we’re just trying to do our part, if you will,” said Ford County Sheriff, Dean Bush.

The sheriff said after a few retirements and resignations, he’s offered to keep one of the four investigative positions open, which would save the County about $80,000 in salary and overtime.

“I think we’re going to be able to make it okay, without that position at this time,” said Bush.

The cuts are aimed to keep property taxes down, but that isn’t their only goal.

The commission works on building up reserve funding, so they can pay for million dollar projects, like the Ford County Fire Department building with cash, so they don’t have to impose a sales tax every time they have a costly county project.

They want to encourage growth in the area by keeping taxes low for business owners.

The commission should have its proposal to the County Clerk by the end of the month.

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