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      Possible tax increases for Randall County

      Randall County may have an increase in taxes come September.

      Randall County Commissioners said in a Tuesday hearing an increase would bring in money that would be allocated for Randall County public safety, primarily the fire department.

      "Our new tax rate equates to about $377.56 per $100,000," said Randall County Judge Ernie Houdashell. "Our current tax rate was about $367. It was about an increase of $8.66 per $100,000."

      Houdashell said about 90 percent of this year's tax increase went to the fire department. And it's no question the fire department put a lot of time and money into battling the fires that resulted from this year's drought.

      "Randall County was not unique in the fires. We did have more catastrophic fires than we anticipated."

      Also with the tax talk, the commission voted to put a tax issue on the Nov. 8 ballot. Rural county residents will decide whether there will be an increase in the current sales tax from 6.25 percent to 6.75 percent.

      Houdashell said that would bring in another $140,000, which would also be given to the fire departments and other public safety of Randall County. The budget also gives money to Tanglewood , Timbercreek , Palisades and Happy out of the general fund.

      A second hearing will be held Sept. 6. The new budget and tax rate are scheduled to be passed the next week.