2020 county budget will add jobs and pay increases
During the last two weeks your Milam County Commissioners Court has worked out a preliminary county budget for 2020. If approved, there will be no new county taxes for 2020 and there will be no layoffs or budget cuts. In fact, things are looking up and we will actually add some needed help.
The 2019 budget was impacted by the loss of Luminant and thus taxes were increased and cuts in every department were made. In fact, each precinct Commissioner took a significant cut of 2.5 percetnt, which impacted how the commissioners operated. However, this year land prices increased and our ad valorem tax revenue increased, which enabled us to better serve the county needs. For 2020 commissioners will get the 2.5 percent back and thus this will allow them to hire help and/or buy needed materials to maintain the roads.
Milam County Tax Assessor Sherry Mueck will hire one new full-time employee and a part-time employee to help keep the Rockdale office open more often. The Milam County Clerk Jodi Morgan will elevate a part-time employee to a full-time status to help keep up with their growing workload. The county will also pay the salary of a part-time employee for District Clerk Karen Berry.
In addition, all county employees will receive a much needed four percent pay raise. This is the first significant pay raise in some time, and it is needed as most of the employees are well below the median income of the county. In addition, some deputies in the Sheriff’s Department will receive more than four percent in order to make us more competitive with Williamson and Bell Counties. It is hard to keep a deputy and/or jailer when they can drive 30 miles and make an additional $10,000 per year, so the increase will help keep experienced deputies.
Each of our fine volunteer fire departments will receive an additional $2,500 stipend and the Milam County Historical Commission will receive a slight increase. Finally, additional money has been set aside for our new courthouse security officer.
We will post the entire budget on our new web site this week for public viewing and we will hold at least one public hearing in the coming weeks to go over the entire budge. Unless, there is something really wrong with the budget it will hopefully be approved by the Commissioners Court later this year. I am pleased to report that this has been a very good and positive process for the Commissioners Court and ultimately for the citizens of Milam County.