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It’s official: Taxes going up in Rockwood

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By Cindy Simpson

Rockwood residents will be paying a little more in city property taxes in the coming fiscal year.
Rockwood City Council last week approved second and final reading of a budget that includes a 5-cent property tax increase.
That brings the city’s property-tax rate to 95 cents per $100 valuation toward a budget with $5.4 million in expected general fund revenue and expenditures.
“I still have the same objections now as I did before,” said Vice Mayor Peggy Evans, who cast the only dissenting vote on the budget.
Evans said she believes there were areas in the budget that could have been cut to make up any need for an increase.
She also disapproved of the disparity among pay raises for city employees. Most city workers will get a 3-percent pay hike beginning July 1, while others, including City Recorder Becky Ruppe and Finance Officer Belinda Puckett, were given different amounts. 
“I would like to see us be a little more across the board with our raises, rather than singling out heads of departments and giving them larger raises,” Evans said.
Mayor James Watts agreed the city needs to work on a pay scale and pointed out Evans supported giving a large raise to the airport manager.
Councilman Mike Freeman has also taken issue with the differences in raises between employees.
“I think we need to set what the pay classification would be before (we give raises),” he said.