Taxpayers have a Final Chance to Rant on Proposed Tax Rate Increase
SAN ANGELO, TX -- Tom Green County residents have one final chance to voice their opinion on a proposed three cent property tax rate increase Friday.
Tom Green County Judge Steve Floyd set the second and last public hearing on the tax rate for 6:00 p.m. Friday evening on the second floor of the Keyes building, 113 W. Beauregard.
The County Judge and Commissioners gave tentative approval of a budget that requires a three-cent rate increase in the property tax rate. The current rate is 51.5 cents per $100 in property value. The rate would increase to 54.50 cents per $100, just under the rollback rate of 54.6 cents. If the rate was increased to the rollback rate or higher, voters in the taxing unit may petition for an election on the tax increase. The proposed 3-cent increase in property tax rate on a $200,000 home in Tom Green County amounts to $60 annually (($200k/$100) * $0.03).
Precinct one Commissioner Ralph Hoelscher said during the final budget hearing that the increase was necessary for the County to avoid bankruptcy. Hoelscher said, “In order to avoid county bankruptcy and a total shutdown of county services, which includes law enforcement, the County Judge, Commissioners and other shall figure an estimated amount that would fully budget the county departments, increase the employee salaries, and a contingency fund available to cover unknown expenses such as lawsuits and court appointed attorneys.”
The Court on Tuesday held the first mandatory public hearing on the tax rate after its regular meeting. Several residents attended and five testified that the taxes were already too high partly because of increases in property values through appraisals from the Appraisal District.
The proposed budget and tax rate for fiscal year 2018 includes a two percent raise for elected officials and funding for a one and a half percent raise plus merit raises for all county employees.
Judge Floyd on Tuesday said there are currently 15 capital murder cases pending in Tom Green County. Taxpayers foot the bill for all trials and capital murder trials can cost between $300,000 and $3 million each.
In regular business Tuesday Commissioners accepted the 2018 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant in the amount of $6,958 for the Sheriff’s office. They will purchase five X-26 tasers for the department.
Commissioners also ended negotiations with Terracon Consultants, Inc. of Midland for testing services at the new jail. Pct. three Commissioner Rick Bacon told the Court that Terracon was going to charge for travel from Midland and also time and a half for after hours work. The Court voted unanimously to enter negotiations with SKG Engineering of San Angelo for testing services.
Commissioners also approved the intergovernmental agreement with the Concho Valley Transit District for rural transit services. The agreement costs $54,000 per year for three years and there is not an increase in cost from the previous agreement.
Commissioners also learned that preliminary design drawings for renovating the Tom Green County Courthouse are now being reviewed by the District Judges.