County budget includes 2% raise

It is budget time in Texas for counties again. Counties across the state are finalizing figures and moving forward with the approval of their 2010 proposed budgets.

Milam County is no different. The proposed 2010 Milam County Budget was filed with the County Clerk on July 31.

The 2010 proposed budget totals $15,914,521 compared to this year's total of $15,163,365. The General Fund budget for 2010 is $5,576,675 and the Precinct Funds total $3,002,825. Total debt service for 2010 will be $673,452.

The General Fund comprises all of the budgets within county government other than the four precinct budgets. The current debt service goes toward the payments due on the Milam County Law Enforcement Center.

A total of $382,031 (or 1.04 percent) of the 2010 budget increase came from property taxes. Of this amount, $125,121 came from new property added to the tax rolls this year. The other major source of budgetary income comes from fees, fines and commissions earned by the county.

A two-percent cost-of-living raise is being proposed for all county employees. There are no proposed increases for elected officials.

One dispatcher is being added to the Sheriff's Department to provide for two dispatchers for each shift. There were also some funds added to support the operation of the Special Investigation Unit.

The current tax rate for 2009 is 62 cents per $100 valuation. The proposed rate for 2010 will be 61 cents per $100 valuation. While this is not a large decrease it will result in a slightly smaller tax bill.

However, if your valuation increased this may well result in you paying a higher amount of county taxes even though the tax rate decreased.

Another area that the county depends on for budgetar y resources is the sales tax. In the 2009 budget $1,200,000 dollars was included for sales tax revenue. Due to the slower economy, and primarily the loss of jobs provided by the local power plant construction, sales tax revenue is predicted to be down. A total of $850,000 of sales tax revenue is included in the 2010 budget.

Public hearings are set on the 2010 Budget.

First is at 9 a.m. Aug. 24 in the Commissioners Courtroom in the courthouse in Cameron.

The second public hearing will be 6 p.m. Sept. 2 in the Commissioners Courtroom. This is an evening meeting that should allow anyone interested in participating in the budget process to attend.

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