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Friday July 31st, 2015 7:28AM

Helen raises millage rate by 0.35 mill

By Rob Moore Reporter
HELEN - The Helen City Commission voted Tuesday afternoon to increase its millage rate for the upcoming fiscal year.

Commissioner Jeff Ash made the motion to increase the city's millage rate from 6.40 to 6.75 mills which, he said, will result in many city property owners paying the same as last year in city taxes.

The city has received preliminary tax digest figures from the White County Tax Assessors Office, showing a reduction in many property values.

"I calculated my tax bills and I'll be paying the same at 6.75 mills," Ash said. "I'd rather pay the same amount to protect the budget."

Those taxes will be used to provide city employees with a 3-percent raise, which equates to $26,489.

"It's been two years since they got a raise," said City Manager Jerry Elkins.

The raises, effective July 1, will help offset the 2 percent the employees lost beginning in January due to increased FICA employment tax collections required by the government to fund Social Security and Medicare.

Prior to the vote, Elkins said, "Our employees are bringing home less than two years ago."

Compensation will be re-evaluated in December, with the possibility of an additional raise, city leaders said.

In a separate vote, as required by city policy, the commission voted to give Elkins the same 3-percent raise granted to all other city employees.
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