The Monroe County Board of Commissioners voted to increase the property tax during their budget workshop last week.

Most of the commissioners voted in favor of increasing the property tax rate by 26 cents per $1,000 assessed value for their 2020-2021 budget during the meeting.

Resistance came from Commissioner T.J. Lankford, who wanted to further increase the tax to “30 cents at least” in hopes of further securing funds for the county.

The suggested increase in the property tax was brought about to help cover the costs for increasing funding for the Monroe County Board of Education and continuing to fund the Monroe County Friends of Animals (MCFA), both of which were added into the budget late in the process.

Many concerned citizens and supporters of the school board appeared in front of the Monroe County Justice Center in Madisonville for the June 15 budget workshop to encourage the commissioners to support both the school board and the animal shelter.

Monroe County Schools Director Dr. DeAnna McClendon had previously emailed the county commissioners making a plea to increase the schools funding.

“I’m asking for $500,000 to $600,000 in funding for the schools,” said McClendon in the e-mail.

She had made the request for additional funding in order to supply Monroe County students with up-to-date text books, work on their school’s infrastructure and deliver step pay to their teachers.

The commissioners agreed to distribute additional funding to the schools of roughly $739,000 during their previous budget meeting that was held on June 15.

The Monroe County Animal Shelter faced potential defunding from the county however, due to the pleas of supporters and representatives for the MCFA, the commission agreed to continue supporting MCFA during their 2020-2021 budget.

“Our non-profit organization has been partnered with the county for the last 15 years or so to share the cost of running the animal shelter,” said MCFA President Jim Barrett.

After consideration, the county commissioners agreed to retain the MCFA in the 2020-2021 budget at $225,000.

Commissioners will officially vote on the second reading of the budget and the tax rate at their next county commission meeting in July.

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