Budget released, still no tax increase forecast
The proposed county budget for 2013 is now available for viewing on the web site at www.milamcounty.net and at the County Clerk’s office, 107 West Main in Cameron, as prescribed by law.
The certified tax roll for 2012 has been finalized and the total assessed value for Milam County is lower than in 2011.
Therefore the effective tax rate that has been calculated by our Tax Assessor Kolette Morgan at slightly over 60 cents per $100 valuation and the rollback rate even higher at 73 cents, both above our current rate of 60 cents.
As I have announced for several weeks now our intention is to continue the county tax rate at 60 cents, same as the last two years; therefore no public hearings are required by law since the effective rate is above the 60-cent rate that is planned for next year.
However we will conduct two hearings anyway on Aug. 27 and Sept. 5, 9 a.m. in the county courtroom at the courthouse in Cameron for official public comment.
But I encourage all of you that can and that are interested in a more detailed explanation of the tax rate and budget, to come out to one of the following community communication meetings and I will do my best to explain all the sources of county revenue and how we intend to spend the funds available in 2013.
There will also be time for questions and comments from you.
•Monday, Aug.206:30 p.m., Milam County Courtroom in the Courthouse, Cameron
• Tuesday, A ug. 2 1, 6 :30 p.m., One- Stop Center, 313 North Main, Rockdale.
• Wednesday, Aug. 22, 6:30 p.m., Community Center, 110 West Main, Buckholts.
• Thursday, Aug. 23 6:30 p.m. Civic Center at the Fire Department 120 West Ave. E, Milano.
• Monday, Aug. 27 6:30 p.m., Chamber of Commerce conference room, 120 S. Main, Thorndale.
• Tuesday, Sept. 4 6:30 p.m., meeting room in the Fire Dept. Building, Gause.
• Thursday, Sept. 6 6:30 p.m., Community Center on FM 487 in Davilla.
The 2013 General Fund budget is set at $11,181,227 vs. 2012 $10,294,827, an increase of $886,400.
That sounds like a lot. However $570,000 of the increase (more if possible) is planned to go into the reserve account, and is not budgeted for spending. Of the remaining $316,000 or so, $180,000 is due to planned increases in the jail operations budget resulting from the Coryell County contract for housing inmates, which will generate over $600,000 in estimated additional revenue in 2013.
The remainder is due primarily to increases to the District Court budget for ever increasing indigent defense expenses, and for increases in pay and benefits for county employees explained as follows.
Twenty-three planned increases totaling just under $20,000 per year resulted from our annu- al survey of 10 surrounding counties of similar size to Milam County that revealed that these employees were well below the average of their counterparts in neighboring counties.
Thirty-eight increases totaling $48,000 per year are planned for employees proposed for promotions, progression increases, or adjustments.
Details of the survey results and planned increases will be discussed in the community communication meetings and will be posted on the web site.
The total base pay increases equal just under 1.3% of payroll ($68,000/$5,350,000).
Even with these increases the total county payroll at the beginning of 2013 will be lower than it was at the beginning of this year by over $100,000 due to reductions during the year.
The four Road and Bridge (precinct) account total budgets (not including provision for reserves) are being reduced somewhat for 2013 to $4.3 million vs. 2012 at $4.5 million (rounded).
The debt service budget is being reduced from $671,000 to $621,000 in anticipation of refinancing the bonds at a lower interest rate.
The total 2013 Milam County spending budget is about the same at $15.5 million ($18.1 million including provision for reserves) vs. 2012 at $15.5 million ($17.3 million including provision for reserves).
Please consider my invitation to come out to the community communication meeting nearest you and learn more about your county business.