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CALDWELL — After a decision to forgo the optional, allowable 3% increase in property taxes, Canyon County commissioners are scheduled to make a final vote on the suggested 2020 budget Tuesday.

On Monday, commissioners met with County Clerk Chris Yamamoto and County Controller Zach Wagoner, who suggested the county forgo the 3% increase in property taxes, after including a suggested property tax request of $55,682,926 in the proposed budget.

Without the 3% increase, the suggested budget is about $104.7 million, Wagoner said.

Wagoner said the county would have enough funds from other revenue areas to forgo the property tax increase. Taking the 3% would have brought in an additional $1,591,272 for the budget year.

The proposed property tax levy rate in the budget is about $358 per $100,000 of taxable property value, a decrease from last year’s rate of $400.95 per $100,000 of taxable property value. A lower levy rate does not necessarily mean a property owner’s taxes will decease, because property values are up.

Yamamoto said the suggestion to forgo the increase came after “careful consideration.”

“I think the property taxes in Canyon County are too high, I think most people agree with that,” he said, adding it would send a “firm message” to voters to forgo the increase.

At one point in the discussion on Monday, Commissioner Pam White suggested the county take only 1% of the increase to put into the capital funds budget to go toward any potential county projects, maybe the jail or Division of Motor Vehicles.

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The proposed budget comes as the county searches for funding for a new county jail, after voters denied the fourth bond request for a new jail in May, as lines at the DMV increase and they search for updated voting equipment.

Commissioner Tom Dale said he liked the idea of a 1% increase; this would have brought in $530,424 in revenue.

“The 3% is allowed by statute because of inflation,” Dale said during the meeting. “We know that the cost of doing businesses goes up — it is called inflation.”

Dale added that taking some of the 3% may be “wise in the long run.”

Commissioner Leslie Van Beek said she was opposed to taking the 3% property tax increase.

A few hours after the Monday morning discussion, the commissioners and staff met again, and this time the clerk and controller convinced all of the commissioners to forgo the 3%.

The commissioners are scheduled to make a final vote on the budget Tuesday morning and sign the final draft.

Rachel Spacek is the Latino Affairs reporter for the Idaho Press. You can reach her at rspacek@idahopress.com. Follow her on twitter @RachelSpacek.

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