The Martin County Commissioners held the annual Truth-in-Taxation hearing after the regular meeting. The proposed county budget for 2019 is $27.3 million, down from this year’s budget of $28.3 million. The property tax levy is expected to rise from $15.8 million to $16.3 million, or 2.94 percent. Explaining the levy hike, officials say the county will hire two full-time positions in 2019, set aside additional funds for capital improvements, pay about 5 percent more for health insurance costs and pay to update an outdated compensation study.

During the regular meeting the board approved extending the lease for the Veterans Service Office at 2423 Albion Ave. in Fairmont. The agreement with Smith Rental Properties calls for the office to remain in its current location through November 2022. The county will pay $629 per month in rent. Either party may terminate the lease with 90 days written notice.

Commissioners appointed Deputy Assessor Michael Sheplee to the position of assessor, effective Jan. 1, at a starting wage of $37.70 per hour. The county will hire a deputy assessor to fill Sheplee’s former role.

Also approved was new compensation and per diems for county commissioners. Commissioners will be paid $25,190 in 2019, with per diems of $75 per day for performing official duties and salary increases of 2.5 percent for other county elected officials,non-union employees as well as step increases for eligible non-union and union workers.

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