The Somervell County Commissioners Court and the Glen Rose Independent School District both approved the 2011 budget for the county's Central Appraisal District, but the Glen Rose City Council raised questions about budget increases and tabled a vote.
The CAD has proposed a budget of $567,608, an increase of $44,535. Taxing entities – the county, school district and city – normally take action to approve or disapprove the CAD's budget. The budget was on the agenda to be approved by the CAD board of directors Jon uly 1.
Each taxing entity is assessed costs of the budget in proportion to that entity's percentage of total taxes collected. The school district pays about 65 percent of the total budget. Its portion for 2011 will be $366,570.
County commissioners raised questions about the budget increase, especially for personnel. The CAD budget included a cost-of-living increase of 1.5 to 2 percent and a provision for more pay for those employees who receive education related to handling appraisals and make a step up in pay grade.
“I know we're going to be tight in our budget and there would be questions if we approved this and not ours” for employee pay increases, County Judge Walter Maynard said.
A representative from the CAD explained that personnel costs also are rising because in the past one employee did not opt to take the health-care benefits offered, but plans to do so in the next budget year. In addition, adjustments had to be made to the retirement system.
Commissioners approved the budget by a 3-1 vote, with Commissioner Zach Cummings as the lone dissenter.
“I thought it was too high,” Cummings explained after the meeting.
So did city council members, who decided to hold up a vote until they could get an explanation of the increase. The school district and council were meeting at the same time Monday evening and the CAD representative appeared before the GRISD board of trustees and wasn't available to answer questions from the council.
Councilmen Bob Stricklin and Johnny Martin both expressed concerns,
“They're taxing more money for the people who are not going to be getting more of an increase (in their own salaries) this year,” Martin said.
Even though the city is not a big part of the CAD's tax rolls, the council decided to send a message.
City Secretary Peggy Busch noted that tax rolls have gone up a little from last year. This year's valuations have risen to $171,742,255 from $158,277,651 last year, she told the council.
Martin made a motion that the council put off a vote until it could ask some questions. Stricklin seconded the motion and the council's vote was tabled.