Residents pack into the Madison County fiscal courtroom to give comment on the proposed property tax rate.

Two weeks after the Madison County Fiscal Court announced a proposed property tax rate that would increase the current rates by 139% to finance a new detention facility, county taxpayers had their last chance to voice their concerns before court officials made their final vote Tuesday afternoon.

One-by-one, 28 citizens from all across the county voiced their concerns regarding the amount of the increase, whether or not an increase was the right option to finance a new or expanded jail, and if a new jail would come close to solving the Madison County Detention Center’s overcrowding problem.

The increased rate was approved with Judge/Executive Reagan Taylor and Magistrates Tom Botkin, John Tudor and Roger Barger all voting in favor of the tax increase. Magistrate Larry Combs voted against it, leaving the final count four to one.

Since 1966, the county’s tax rate has remained unchanged at 8.2 cents per $100. With the passing of this ordinance, the rate will climb by 11.4 cents, making the final rate 19.6 cents per $100.

County officials proposed this increase as one of their last options to help build a proposed $45 million jail, which they believe will solve the ongoing issue with overcrowding at the MCDC, which is at 208% capacity.

With the increase exceeding the state’s allowed 4% cap, citizens are planning to file a referendum to recall the rise in property taxes which would land the ordinance on the November 2020 ballot for a vote.

Reach Taylor Six at 624-6623 or follow her on Twitter at @TaylorSixRR

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