Some further explanation on the budget
By David Barkemeyer
Milam County Judge
I’ve done my best to explain the proposed 2017 County Budget proposal to you in the community meetings that we’ve held in several places throughout the county these past few days along with the reasons why we’re increasing the county tax rate. If you did not come to one of these meetings and want to review my comments, I’ve done a video that I’ll post on the website at www.milamcounty.net, so feel free to take a look.
I realize that many of us that are land and homeowners are doubly impacted by this increase in that our property values have been significantly increased this year as well. I tried to explain this in my presentation by showing what has happened this year to the property values in the county with land and homes going up significantly while all other categories including minerals and commercial/industrial properties have gone down.
I also pointed out that if the Luminant position is sustained by the courts and an additional $400 million in industrial value is lost to the county’s tax base, then this will shift another major portion of the county’s tax burden to land and home owners, and the county’s tax base will become predominantly based on land and home values. At the same time the county’s tax rate will go even higher. This is why this case is so important to us.
A lot is being said about various expenditures that are included in the 2017 budget, many of these were discussed in the community meetings. Most are not new, a few are. Let me first of all say many cuts have already been made these past two or three years, and if the Luminant position is sustained by the courts, not only will taxes have to be raised even more, but drastic reductions in county services will definitely have to be made. We trying to hold off making these as long as we can.
Let me make it clear that the two percent pay increase that is proposed in next year’s budget will only be implemented if the Luminant litigation is settled in favor of the appraisal district’s position and the additional taxes are paid.
And finally the publication of the effective tax rate for 2016 of $.639255 per $100 and the 2016 rollback tax rate of $.703957 per $100 that are posted with the proposed budget and on the county website as well as in the required public newspaper notice are correct having been done according to the Truth in Taxation procedures in the state’s Tax Code. The first required public hearing on the tax rate and budget was held on Aug. 31 at 9 a.m. and the second will be help on Sept. 7 at 9 a.m. in the county courtroom.