While both sound good, they were each met with opposition.
“Unfortunately I am going to vote against the budget,” said Commissioner Dennis DeWitt. “There are still some pay raises for county officials and I don’t feel like that is right thing to do at this time.”
Commissioner Carlos Salazar said, “This budget reflects the goal we have all been trying to get for quite some time.
“I know some in the public thought it was impossible for us to have a balanced budget without a tax increase and still have a fund balance.”
Salazar said that the county’s reserve is expected to reach $2 million.
“That is awesome and to still give every employee that so desired a 5 percent pay raise.”
County Judge David Silva added, “I think it was the previous court that did all the cuts they did, and this court did some of the cutting as well, that put us in this position.”
Both DeWitt and Commissioner Ken Haggard voted against the budget and the lowered tax rate.
“I am voting against this for the same reason I voted against the budget — because of the pay raise for county employees,” he said.
The court has set this next tax rate at $0.49824.
Silva reminded that this rate is lower than the current rate.
Commissioners had initially proposed a higher rate but thanks to an unprecedented amount of additional sales tax coming into the county, $1.7 million, the county will actually be able to fully fund its budget with the tax rate of 49.8 cents.
According to Linda Bridge, county tax assessor/collector, the average taxable value of a homestead in Bee County this year is $59,067.
This means that the average homeowner will pay $294.30 this year.
This means that some home owners, dependent upon their property valuations, could actually see a decrease in their tax bill of about $34.
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.