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      Potter County Commissioners raise taxes

      On Monday, Potter County Commissioners passed their new budget for the next fiscal year, and they did so by hiking taxes six percent.

      The tax hike wasn't popular among all the County Commissioners, it only passed by a three to two vote.

      Commissioner Joe Kirkwood, one of the two who voted against it, believes the increase will make it difficult for businesses to stay in Amarillo.

      "Our tax base is nearly double that of Randall County and my concern is that businesses and families will begin to move across the county line to take advantage of taxes that are half of what they are in Potter County."

      The six percent increase is equivalent to an increase of $38 for a $100,000 home.

      "The problem is other taxing entities in the area have also raised taxes, property owners may be surprised when they get their tax statement next year."

      The money is being allocated to various areas to fund a $47 million budget.

      "It's not any one specific thing, we've for some future expansion, future expenses that may be coming up with building and things, but basically they raised taxes for the ongoing operation of the county."

      Kirkwood says there were other alternatives the commissioners could have taken to balance this budget.

      "We have a large savings account and I proposed a budget that would've taken money out of the savings account and not raised taxes, so I don't see any need to have raised taxes."

      Ultimately the increase was passed by the commission.

      Kirkwood says he thinks fuel costs, utility costs and unfunded mandates among other things are what brought about the tax increase.