HAWKINS COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Hawkins County Commission met Monday night and passed its 2022-23 budget, and commissioners also voted in favor of raising the county property tax rate.

According to Hawkins County Director of Accounts and Budgets Eric Buchanan, the property tax rate will increase by 15 cents. The increase, which Buchanan said is the first the county has seen in several years, will cost the average homeowner about $37.50 annually. That average was calculated by using the typical property value of $100,000.

The property tax increase passed by a vote of 14-6 with one commissioner absent.

The actual budget passed with the addition of a pay adjustment for county employees. Buchanan said county employees who fall under general fund or work in solid waste will see a rise of 9% in pay.

The pay increase was referred to by Buchanan as a “COLA” (cost of living adjustment) and aims to keep the county pay competitive. A motion was made Monday night to increase pay by 12%, but that motion failed.

The full budget passed with a vote of 13-6 with two commissioners absent.

Buchanan said after the tax increase and pay change for county employees, the budget deficit will come out to roughly $1.6 million.