County Commission approves real estate transfer fee increase

The vote came after 30 minutes of debate with Democratic Commissioners Paula Brooks and Mary Jo Kilroy voting yes and GOP Commissioner Dewey Stokes voting no.

“The business case has been made, this is cost effective, it’s the right thing to do first and foremost, yes. And I vote yes. Resolution 998-05 has been passed. What a treat. What a treat.”

People who sell their house now pay one dollar per every one thousand dollars in value. That will double. Officials say the money will go to affordable housing projects. Kilroy says it’s a wise investment.

“I think we want a budget that’s fiscally responsible yet socially progressive and is addressing the needs of the poor in this community.”

A disgusted Dewey Stokes said the conveyance fee should not be increased until it is needed. Stokes suggested using money the county already has.

“Now that we have an additional five point two million out of the reappraisal fund that’s available. We don’t have it commissioner. Don’t you think It is not, it is not in our treasury, and then use those funds to fund, it would be the same as putting an additional dollar on the conveyance fee into the general fund and drawing that money out to provide the additional four million to the affordable housing and community shelter board.”

Kilroy says the most important issue at hand is housing needs in the community and avoiding a deficit.

“This one dollar increase on the sale of a house, one dollar per thousand, the sale of a house will meet a critical human need. Secondly, we are still going to be among the lowest of transfer fees in the entire state, even with this increase.” Franklin County Auditor Joe Testa also says doubling the conveyance tax is excessive. Testa says he presented a plan to Commissioners last week shows how $4 million could be added to the affordable housing fund while retaining the county’s strong fiscal position.

“The decisions that you’ve already made, the taxes that you’ve raised, your own recommended and the additional four million dollars is all there to put you at the threshold at the levels that you set as goals for the agencies without raising another $6.8 million a year in new taxes. You didn’t need to do what you did today.”

The doubled conveyance fee begins in thirty days.