Cumberland County's current tax rate is $1.24 per $100 of assessed value. Residential property is assessed at 25 percent of the appraised value. The Cumberland County Commission approved increasing the property tax to $1.33 per $100 of assessed value.

A homeowner with a property tax appraisal of $100,000 would pay taxes on 25 percent of that amount, $25,000. That is then divided by $100 and multiplied by the tax rate.

Currently, that homeowner would pay $310 a year in property tax.

A 9-cent property tax increase would increase that to $332.50 a year, a difference of $22.50.

County commissioners approved a nine-cent property tax increase Monday night in order to fund the county's 2009-'10 fiscal year budget.

Although a seven-cent property tax hike was recommended by the budget committee, it was raised in a motion by 7th District Commissioner Mike Harvel to nine cents in order to prevent cutting the county employees' longevity pay and in order to freeze their pay at this year's rate.

After a 9-9 tie vote on whether to raise the property tax rate nine cents, it came down Cumberland County Mayor Brock Hill who was the deciding vote as the chairman of the county commission. Hill voted in favor of the increase.

After the meeting Hill said, "I have never voted to raise taxes, but I felt it was necessary this year."

According to one commissioner, the county's fiscal year budget hasn't been approved this early in at least 19 years.

Third District Commissioner Lynn Tollett said the budget committee began meetings and deliberations over the budget at the end of April.

The nine-cent increase was narrowly approved after several increases were discussed.

Second District Commissioner Nancy Hyder recommended a 10-cent increase in order to save the JROTC program in the high schools with one more cent going to the Board of Education and two cents going to the general fund to save the longevity pay and to keep the six full-time convenience center employees at their full-time rate and benefits. However it was defeated in a 14-4 vote.

"We can't tell the school system how to spend their money. It's inappropriate to hang something over their heads like that ... Don't get me wrong. We all want to support the program, but this isn't the way to do it," 2nd District Commissioner Robert Safdie said.

After some discussion Harvel motioned for an amendment to have the increase of nine cents with the two extra tax pennies going to the general fund in order to keep the county employees at the pay rate of last year and to keep the longevity pay.

In doing so it would set the new property tax rate at $1.33 with 55 cents going to the general fund, 52 cents going to the general purpose school fund, 11 cents going to the sanitation fund and 15 cents going to the general debt service fund. It was supported by 8th District Commissioner Jeff Brown.

Voting in favor of the amendment and tax increase were Hyder, 4th District Commissioner David Gibson, 5th District commissioners Jack Davis and Trey Kerley, 6th District Commissioners Wendell Wilson and Terry Carter, Harvel, Brown, and 9th District Commissioner Clyde Cramer.

Voting against it were 1st District Commissioners Harry Sabine and Jim Inman, Safdie, 3rd District Commissioners Tollett and Johnny Presley, 4th District Commissioner Charles Seiber, 7th District Commissioner Kenneth Carey, 8th District Commissioner Greg Maxwell and 9th District Commissioner Carmin Lynch.

Breaking the tie vote was Mayor Hill who voted in favor of the increase.

Commissioners then voted to make the appropriations for the various funds, departments, institutions, offices and agencies of Cumberland County.

Harvel motioned to approve and Cramer supported it. Voting in favor were commissioners Sabine, Hyder, Safdie, Tollett, Gibson, Davis, Kerley, Carter, Wilson, Harvel, Brown, Cramer and Lynch. Voting against it were Inman, Seiber, Carey and Maxwell. Presley abstained.