The board of directors for the Somervell County Water District voted by a 5-0 count to adopt a total property tax rate of .129 for the 2017 tax year, up from the .124 rate of last year.

The tax rate difference of .005 cents per $100 of property value means that the tax on an average residence homestead ($135,332) for 2017 will be $174.60, up from $162.50 from last year on an average residence homestead ($131,047).

SCWD Manager Kevin Taylor said late last week that the budget process was “back to normal” — similar to the way it was in the past for the county’s taxing entities. That’s because last year there had been a major battle over the property value for Comanche Peak Nuclear Power plant, which in the end was settled out of court after a lawsuit was filed.

“The tax values we have, though not as high as in the past, are still more than adequate to sustain the public services of Somervell County and it appears all the taxing entities have adjusted to the lower values. I’m optimistic that the future of Somervell County is still bright,” Taylor said. “We were able to adopt the budget without raising water rates on either our retail or our wholesale (the city of Glen Rose) customers. Our water rate has been the same since we began selling water in November 2011.”

The vote, held on Sept. 11, did not include two members — Kevin Morgan and Secretary/Treasurer Lee Magee — who were absent.

The directors who voted for the tax rate were President Ben Mieth, Vice President Nemo Britton, and Larry Fleming, Karen Richardson and Maurice English.

BY THE NUMBERS

The total taxable value in Somervell County for 2017 is $2,291,186,499, which will generate $2,955,630 in revenue for the SCWD. Last year’s tax rate generated $2,721,869 from the 2016 total taxable value of $2,215,302,837.

The SCWD reports its total revenue as $2,256,476, and total expenditures are at $2,255,000. The ending general fund balance is $1,801,476.

The SCWD serves approximately 5,200 water customers, with 1,746 meters. It sold 20,474,000 gallons of water last month (August), up from 16,978,000 gallons in July, but down from the mark of $26,237,000 in August 2016.

The new fiscal year for the SCWD budget officially begins on Oct. 1, 2017.

SILT CLEANUP

The SCWD this week began cleanup of silt accumulated above the weir at the Big Rocks Park dam on the Wheeler Branch of the Paluxy River, which winds through Glen Rose.

Taylor said the SCWD’s last silt cleanup project was in 2015. FEMA paid for 75 percent of the cost then, and the agency will pay the same percentage this time, Taylor noted, because flood events that were declared eligible for the funding.

“The annual cleanup is necessary to protect our water intake from silting up to the point that we can’t pump water up to the Wheeler Branch reservoir for municipal use,” Taylor stated.

The process of clearing out the silt — consisting primarily of sand and gravel buildup — is likely to take three to four weeks, Taylor said.