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CLAY COUNTY — Clay County commissioners voted 3-0 to drop the general levy county tax rate Monday, Sept. 14.

The rates for mental health, developmental disabilities and senior services outside agencies remained the same as last year’s rate. Per $100 of assessed valuation, mental health will receive $0.0942; developmental disabilities $0.1130 and senior services $0.0470.

Laurie Portwood, assistant county administrator for finance and administrative services, said the state auditor’s review recommended a general fund tax levy rate of $0.0677 per $100 of assessed valuation, up from 2019's adopted tax levy rate of $.0532 per $100 of assessed valuation. Initially, Portwood told the commission that the increase would amount to roughly $4.13 more in revenue if a house was assessed at $150,000.

Western Commissioner Gene Owen asked Presiding Commissioner Jerry Nolte is there was anything he wanted to cut.

“I don’t like raising taxes,” Nolte answered. “No matter what, the new commissioners will live with the decisions we make today.” A new commission will be seated next year as Owen and Eastern Commissioner Luann Ridgeway did not file for reelection.

“I want it put back to the $0.0532 rate,” Ridgeway said. “During the pandemic, I would rather see the commission giving relief to county families rather than raising taxes.”

Portwood said if the general levy is maintained at last year’s rate, there will still be a $66,915 added revenue due to reassessments and new construction. 

“After listening to Luann, I want to amend it and take it down to $0.0500,” Owen said. “That would take care of the $70,000 increase and truly keep it the same.”

Nolte called it a rare moment as the three voted in favor of the amended rate.

Southeast Editor Kellie Houx can be reached at or 389-6630.

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