Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Court raises tax rate, plans $3M in cuts to budget

Two Commissioners voted against tax hike

Waco – In the summer swelter of August, the law requires that Commissioenrs Courts statewide advertise a proposed ad valorem tax rate.

Faced with increased costs for courthouse security, outside care for jail inmates, and a thousand and one other expenses that have skyrocketed, the McLennan County Commissioners court set a tentative tax rate of .05068 cents per $100 assessed valuation, which would cost an owner of a $100,000 home about $37 more per year. Commissioners Ben Perry and Kelly Snell voted against the higher tax rate, though it is tentative, both expressing the view that once it's up, it may never go down again.

It can always be lowered, but a rate must be advertised to meet statutory requirements, according to Judge Jim Lewis.

Commissioners began the lengthy task on Monday of earmarking which expenses can be cut, and they started with the Sheriff's Office.

Chief Deputy Randy Plemons heard Judge Lewis give his opinion that the Drug Awareness Resistance Education (DARE) program should go, its three officers assigned to courthouse security, or some other detail where they would be more useful.

Schools are required to teach the same curriculum, anyway, the Judge pointed out, and besides consolidating the three deputy salaries, they would be able to absorb their vehicles into the fleet of patrol cars. Each is a $29,000 to $39,000 item, fully equipped, Deputy Plemons estimated.

An audio tape will give a listener the gist of the scope of where the rest of an estimated $3 million in expenses may be cut in order to make up for huge increases in security and jail personnel and outside care costs.

1 comment:

  1. I thought it was the Sheriff's job to assign Sheriff's Deputies, not the County Judge's.