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Tax assessor-collector: Rusk County values down

By Angela Ward award@news-journal.com
Aug. 4, 2011 at 11 p.m.


HENDERSON - The Rusk County Commissioners Court got some news from Tax Assessor-Collector Matt B. Gabriel on Thursday morning. At $4,601,437,300, the county's certified property values dropped about $400 million from a year ago, Gabriel said.

"There was actually a slight increase in real estate values, but minerals and industrials were down considerably, leading to an overall decline in values," Gabriel said.

County Judge Joel Hale said the reduced values will make it more challenging to put together a budget for the upcoming fiscal year, but expressed confidence that the staff and elected officials will work together to come up with a fair and feasible budget.

"People here are basically conservative," Hale said. "We'll make do with what we've got and still provide the necessary services to the residents of Rusk County."

The county's tax rate is 37.48 cents per $100 of valuation. This means that the owner of a property valued at $100,000 would pay $374.80 in taxes, discounting any exemptions.

"We've got a couple of months to look over things and decide whether or not we need to raise the tax rate," Hale said. "The department heads haven't asked for much in the way of increases; they understand what the economic situation is."

The county has until Sept. 30 to approve a budget for next year.

Gabriel also informed the court that she will not be seeking re-election to her position in 2012. She has been a county employee since 1965 and has served as tax assessor-collector since 1993.

"I have wonderful employees and have truly enjoyed serving the residents of Rusk County," Gabriel said. "I just feel it's time for me to retire."

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