County Commissioners approve tax abatement for Keystone Tower System

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The Gray County Commissioners met on Wednesday morning for a regularly-scheduled meeting. During the meeting, there were two public hearings, one on the District/County Clerk’s Archive Fund Plans and the other concerning the tax abatement for Keystone Tower System.

There were no public comments on either matter, and the Commissioners approved their bills and line item transfers.

The Commissioners did approve the tax abatement for Keystone Tower Inc.

“The abatement is for 100 percent for the first five years, 50 percent for years six and seven and then 25 percent for years eight, nine and 10,” County Judge Chris Porter said. “The abatement is for new capital. If they have investments in new buildings, equipment, etc. That will not be taxed. The existing structures will be taxed at the regular rate.

“It stimulates businesses to expand or to come in based on the fact that they know what the taxes are on the existing facilities. The new investments they make will be at a discounted rate but will perpetuate them being in the county and encourage them to hire new employees.”

The following items were also approved:

• District and County Clerk’s Archive Fund Plans.

• Request from County Clerk to use funds from the Records Archive Fund on Historic Image Date Load from LGS. Porter said this item was approved for $1,500 for a new fee on data storage for online records. The Records Archive Fund is strictly for the preservation of County records and can not be spent or transferred unless its for County records.

• Contract with Guardian for RFID Installation in the Gray County Jail. This was approved to be installed after Oct. 1 and is an electronic tool to track when jailers are at certain places in the jail. Instead of a hand-written accounting, there is a device that logs into the computer system for better accountability.

• Election Administrator’s Bond for Office.

• Request for Flu Shots for County Employees provided by the County. It’s for employees and dependents.

• Change Order Extending County Road 3 Deadline for Completion to October 1, 2021. The deadline was actually extended to Oct. 9 because of the rainfall the County received recently leading to compaction issues.

• Engagement Letter for Dozier, Pickens and Francis LLC, for Fiscal Year 2021 County Audit.

• Adopt FY2022 Budget.

• Adopt 2021 Tax Year General, M&O and Road and Bridge Tax Rates. The tax rate was approved unanimously at $.650860/$100, which is lower than last years. “That’s a 3.02 percent decrease from last year’s rate,” Porter said. “While our budget has more expense than what it had last year, the valuations are up and there has been new industry that has opened up in the County. We’re able to spread the burden of the taxes out a little bit by lowering the rate.”

• Naming commissioner Jeff Haley to the Gray County Appraisal District Board of Directors.

• Approval of Replacement of Employee in the County Judge’s Office. Porter’s current court coordinator, Shalyn Burritt is moving out of the County, therefore opening the position.

• Extending Gray County Emergency Declaration in Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic

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