New county sales tax rate to go into effect April 1
GLEN ROSE — On April 1, 2022, the 2% local sales and use tax voted on by Somervell County residents will officially go into effect.
Somervell County Judge Danny L. Chambers received confirmation in writing from the Texas State Comptroller's Office on Jan. 4, 2022, stating the Nov. 2, 2021, election to create the Somervell County Assistance District is valid.
A total of 1,116 votes were cast with 591 for and 525 against, passing by just 66 votes.
The new sales tax rate will be 8.25%, the same as the city of Glen Rose.
“You have confirmed that the district is located in the unincorporated portions of Somervell County and does not include any area within any incorporated cities (the city of Glen Rose) or any other jurisdiction currently at 2%,” reads the letter signed by Aubrey Mashburn of the Tax Allocation Section Revenue Accounting Division.
The validity of the election was brought to the forefront by former Somervell County Auditor Brian Watts, who sent a letter to Chambers dated Nov. 22, 2021. Glen Rose City Councilman George Freas also brought it up during a city council meeting last month, but Glen Rose Mayor Julia Douglas immediately halted the discussion because it didn't pertain to city business.
Watts’ argument, citing Texas Government Code 387.003 Creation and Functions of District, was that residents of Glen Rose are not part of the Somervell County Assistance District, and therefore, should not have been able to vote.
“My understanding is that all county voters (even those residing inside the city limits) were able to vote on this issue,” reads Watts’ letter to Chambers. “As you can plainly see, that is not permitted and therefore renders this a fraudulent election and must be invalidated immediately.”
Chambers confirmed that around 230 residents of the city of Glen Rose voted in the election.
“They (the comptroller’s) know that. They have all the results,” Chambers said.
Chambers said when he received Watts’ letter, he immediately passed it along to the comptroller’s office for review.
“I sent them all the election results, all the canvassing results, and they had the resolution way early on, and I sent them all of Brian’s issues and concerns,” Chambers said.
He also said the secretary of state and the comptroller’s office viewed the ballot before it went to print.
“We did everything outside of us. We didn’t do it. Our attorney didn’t do it. We had two lawyers outside in the Metroplex draw up the resolution, and we had everything approved by the state,” Chambers said.
“I’m not saying Brian didn’t have any valid points or issues,” Chambers said. “I’m just saying apparently, they (the state officials) didn’t find any.”