By Melanie Boyung
Special to Conley Media
WASHINGTON COUNTY — The county tax rate is set to drop to its lowest levels since 1917.
In October, the Washington County Executive Committee gave unanimous approval to the 2020 budget proposal for Washington County. That committee’s approval moves the budget forward to the full County Board, which is expected to take it up this month.
The 2020 recommended budget has a $2.298 tax rate; the rate for 2019 was $2.393, 9.48 cents higher than the current proposal, according to county budget documents. That $2.298 tax rate is the lowest in more than a hundred years — County Administrator Josh Schoemann wrote in the budget book that it is the lowest since World War I.
While the tax rate is comparable to a hundred years ago, that does not mean tax bills will be the same. The tax rate is the amount paid by a property owner per $1,000 of property value, and property valuation has risen a great deal in the past century. Owners of a $225,000 home would therefore owe $517.10
Do you know what else the taxpayers of Washington County didn’t have to pay? A county sales tax. So while the county has been able to decrease the tax rate on the back of increasing property values, they have been able to keep spending more by extracting more tax revenue from the same taxpayers through the sales tax.