County tax rates will not increase for another year as the Somervell County Commissioners Court on Monday approved a $15.2 million budget.
The 2010-2011 budget for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 includes cost-of-living increases and longevity benefits for county employees, upgraded radios for the constables, sheriff’s department and emergency medical service personnel and funds to finish out temporary RV spaces at the Somervell County Expo for attracting large shows.
The budget also provides for a $8.5 million reserve in the general fund that the county can tap into if an emergency arises.
The tax rate remains at 35.5 cents per $100 of property valuation, actually a slight decrease of $.0028 from the current year.
Next fiscal year’s budget is a slight increase over the current year’s budget that ends Sept. 30, but some funds were carried forward. For example, more than $87,000 was expended for a brush truck that hasn’t been delivered yet.
Because the county did not raise taxes, it did not have to go through a long process to approve the budget. No taxpayer made public comments about the budget.
“This is an easy one when you don’t raise taxes,” County Judge Walter Maynard said.
In other business, commissioners voted to continue holding their regular meeting on the second Monday of each month at 9:30 a.m. at the county annex building. The only exception is in October, when the meeting will be held on Tuesday since Monday is a government holiday (Columbus Day).
The county in the past tried evening meetings, but few people showed up, Maynard said. It also was an additional expense for the county since it had to pay employees who needed to attend the meeting for working after their regular business hours.
Commissioners also decided not to grant a request for a right-of-way easement for a water line on County Road 407 for the Cheyenne Hills subdivision. Judge Maynard said he could find no statute allowing a private entity to have an easement on county right-of-way.
Commissioner James Barnard said he also had heard concerns from residents there about low water pressure. He moved that the court deny the request.
“I believe by denying it we’re doing the right thing,” he said.
Commissioners also decided to pursue discussions about providing more land around the Ag Barn so that 4-H students can receive their fair share of pen and stall space for raising animals.
Earlier this year voters passed a Glen Rose Independent School District bond election that includes expanding the Ag Barn, although that project won’t be finished until next year. The district’s FFA students have been using the barn and 4-H’ers have been getting “crowded out.”
Meanwhile, temporary spaces have been built, but 4-H students have received only five extra ones and need 15, said County Ag Extension Agent Josh Blanek. Returning traditionally students receive the first choice of spaces.
Commissioners decided to get all parties involved together at a meeting to discuss how to create an equitable division of pens and stalls for everyone.