The Cherry County Commissioners held a special joint public hearing with the Cherry County Clerk concerning the proposed property tax increases on Monday evening at the City of Valentine Library Meeting Room. Approximately 40 citizens from around the county were in attendance in addition to the county officials conducting the meeting.
After heavy damages had to be addressed following the flooding in 2019, the county incurred several million dollars in repair expenses, some $800,000 of which are still being appealed to FEMA. This led to a $2.9 Million bond, to be paid back over 5 years at roughly $550,000 annually until a payoff in 2028.
Several other items on the budget were discussed, including fuel costs for the road department and employee health insurance costs.
Overall, the county is proposing a 5.94% increase in total tax request in the amount of $258,375.00.
A major concern by many of those in attendance was the timing of the notification card that had come in the mail, most residents received the day of the hearing. According to Clerk Britney Longcor, these cards were received in a manner that is within state statue, but was originally to be delivered roughly a week prior. The cards were apparently mailed-out and postmarked on the 12th, but took several days to be delivered.
About a third of those in attendance had some questions and comments, with many of these stating that their questions had already been answered by the opening comments of the evening.
There will be another budget hearing on the 26th, when the budget is expected to be finalized.