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County Approves Budget, Tax Rates For Coming Year

Colorado County commissioners, meeting on Monday, Sept. 8, approved a tax rate of 48.206 per $100 valuation, the same as the current rate.

They also approved a budget of $15.63 million.

Revenues are projected at $14.58 million.

The budget projects taking approximately $1.05 million from reserves to balance the budget.

The tax rate and budget were approved after public hearings in which no residents appeared.

Because of increases in total property value, County Auditor Raymie Kana estimated that the county will receive an additional $624,540 in property tax revenue, which amounts to a 7.5 percent increase.

The tax rate commissioners approved exceeds the effective tax rate of 45.541 cents per $100 valuation.

The effective tax is the tax rate needed to raise the amount of property tax revenue from the same properties in both the 2013 tax year and 2014 tax year.

Property values in the county increased $132.2 million in 2014 over the previous year.

The proposed tax rate is the same as the previous four years.

In the proposed budget are 5 percent salary increases for most county elected officials and employees.

The cost for employees is $125,750 annually and $51,794 for elected officials.

Those proposed increases came after commissioners approved recommendations from a county salary committee.

For the four constables, the commissioners also approved a 50 percent pay increase instead of the 5 percent pay increase. That will bring constable salaries to $16,200 annually.

--Other increases included:

--A 10 percent increase for public defenders, bringing their salaries to $41,712.

--Agreed to set the salary of the county judge’s administrative assistant at the current level $41,400 annually and provide that she be eligible for the 5 percent salary increase.

Other highlights in the budget include:

--$40,000 for upgraded emergency services dispatching, and $10,000 for a “reverse 9-1-1” calling system to alert residents in specific areas of the county about emergencies.

--Included $170,000 for purchase of five replacement patrol cars for the sheriff’s department, an increase from four that had been authorized in the current budget.

--There is also $100,000 in a contingency fund for the county owned facility at Eagle Lake that is being rented by the National Guard for Youth Challenge Educational Program. The county is scheduled to receive $150,000 in rent for the coming year.

--There is $170,000 in the budget for the replacement of four patrol cars in the coming year and $70,000 as a contingency for a new ambulance unit.

--The creation of an assistant EMS Director for $43,680 and the transfer of 3 part-time EMS technicians to full-time status at a cost of $87,360.

Those increases were offset with decreases in the category of part-time pay, with the EMS budget remaining at $1.5 million.

In other action, commissioners:

--Approved a resolution recognizing the accomplishments of the Colorado County members of the Texas Tri-County 14-year-old All Stars who won the Babe Ruth World Series in Ocala, Florida.

They included: Coslon Giesler, Carter Helmcamp, Ryan Neisner, Michael Vallone Schrab, Lucas Smith, Wyatt Stavinoha and Manager Kenny Helmcamp.

--Authorized the district clerk to collect a records technology fund fee of not more than $10 per filing to be used preserve and digitize district court records.

--Approved an interlocal agreement for continued participation in a regional auto theft enforcement task force.

--Were told that Garwood had been approved for a $350,000 state grant for water and sewer improvements.  [-end of story-]


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