SRO crowd expected at Monday tax hearing

There’s a pretty good chance it will be a standing-room-only crowd in the Milam County Commissioners Courtroom at 9:45 a.m. Monday when commissioners conduct their second public hearing on the 2010-11 proposed tax rate.

An overflow crowd filled the first floor courtroom at the first hearing Aug. 23.

At that session, frequent critic Wayne Horkheimer asked the county to set the tax rate at the effective rate of 55.0649 cents.

Commissioners have proposed a 60-cent rate, down one cent from the current rate.

Since that session, a group of citizens terming themselves “concerned citizens” have held town hall meetings in Rockdale and Cameron, drawing five persons in Rockdale and 12 in Cameron, Horkheimer said.

Horkheimer and the taxpayers group have now submitted a total of 60 “issues and questions” to county commissioners. Those range from questions about elected officials’ pay to county road issues to Milam’s 911 system to “missed” pay periods for county employees.

Count y Judge Frank Summers said the 60-cent tax rate is needed to support a decrease in fees, fines and commissions and a $100,000 increase in insurance costs. Summers said the county will lose about $300,000, compared to last year, because Milam’s Law Enforcement Center no longer boards inmates from other counties, which have built their own expanded facilities.

The county budget lists expenditures of $16.3 million, an increase of 2.68 percent from last year.

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