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County to eye debt choices

County commissioners tonight will hear a presentation on three alternatives to raising the property tax to pay for school debt.
The Lincoln County Board of Commissioners meeting starts at 7:15 tonight in the Commissioners Room at the Citizens Center. A meeting of the East Lincoln Water and Sewer District Board will take place at 6:30.
With a $47 million school bond that will go before voters in May, the county is facing increasing debt and must find a way to pay that money back.
Since one cent in property tax generates about $522,000 in revenue, it would require a property tax increase of 4.8 cents to cover the entire $47 million bond, County Manager Stan Kiser said. That increase would happen over three years.

The county has three possible alternative methods that would take the burden off property
owners, Kiser said. Increasing the sales tax, having a real estate transfer tax and requiring impact fees would help bring in revenue.
But all three would require approval from the General Assembly — which would be difficult to gain. Each option is likely to draw opposition from affected groups.
“They’ll all be difficult, but the main point in this is to find an alternative method to pay for the school bond,” Kiser said.

Kiser will make a recommendation on which option the county should pursue tonight.
In other business, the board will:
· Consider rezoning applications from David Heafner, Paul Rhodes, Mark Cotter and Virginia Dellinger. The county’s planning board voted to recommend approval of each application.
Hear recommendations regarding the future facility needs for the Health Department.by Alice Smith

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