County news # 2Only two comments were made during the public hearing on the County Commissioner’s proposal to increase the rate of the Cumulative Capital Development Fund on Monday.

The fund, which has been in place for many years currently, has a rate of $.0169 and the commissioners are proposing to increase the rate back up to the maximum of $.0333 per $100 of Assessed Value.

Recently retired farmer, Jim Vervynckt asked the commissioners what the additional funding was going to be used for.  He said there’s been a trend to cut back on farm ground rent and with the possibility of the Cum Cap tax increase, “It doesn’t leave a whole lot to live on.”

Commissioner Kevin Overmyer said “Cum Cap is what the county uses for software costs, computers and hard costs.  We want to increase this rate to allow the county to update the highway equipment.”  He indicated the extra funding could be used for infrastructure improvements, roads.

Brad Stackhouse spoke on the effects of the increase on farm ground.  He said, “Looking at the national picture right now, our president is saying lets put a curtail on taxes.”  He asked if the increase could be put off for a little longer.  He asked about the state passing an increase in the gas tax.  Overmyer said there isn’t a decision at this point.

Commissioner Overmyer commented on county’s MVH (Motor Vehicle Highway) Fund saying, “In 2015 we received $828,896 and that’s what we used to operate the highway.  In 2017 we are projects to receive $771,382 ….down $50,000.  We are getting less and less money from the state.”

Stackhouse said, “In my opinion this affects us more than the average consumer.  I can agree with your philosophy that you need more money for equipment.”  He mentioned that the county is leasing equipment verses an outright purchase as a way to save money.  He closed his comments by saying, “I urge you folks to use consideration and be wise with your decisions.”

Commissioner Kurt Garner said the tax rate increase will bring approximately $412,000 more revenue into the Cum Cap fund.  $320,000 will be used to fund the leases for equipment at the highway department.  Garner motioned to pass the ordinance on first reading saying, “When I ran for this seat I thought will we can do better.  It became pretty clear to me within a very few months that we are so willfully underfunded at the county highway department that we can’t do better unless we have some more capital.”

Commissioner Mike Delp seconded the motion saying, “It it obvious to be that we need to do something for our roads.  I think we are doing the best we can right now with what we got but there is room for improvement.  We are trying to be efficient with our funds right now.”

Overmyer said, “When I first came in the highway department was chip and sealing 150 miles of road a year.  After the economy went south in 2008 the highway lost employees through attrition and we are still down 6 or 7 people.  Now we can only do 30 to 50 miles because costs have continually gone up we continue to get less and less money from the state.”

The commissioners unanimously approved the ordinance on first reading.  Second and third reading of the ordinance could be heard at their meeting in two weeks.