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Appraisal district undergoing transition
Wilson County NewsSeptember 30, 2008 | 6,748 views | 12 comments
Still in the process of a massive internal transition, a new era for the Wilson County Appraisal District begins with changes to its top-level leadership.
Eddie Bridge of Pettus officially took the reins as chief appraiser Sept. 22. Bridge had previously served in the same capacity for Atascosa, Edwards, and Falls counties. He replaces Carlton Pape, who was terminated July 21.
Also beginning work Sept. 22 was Assistant Chief Appraiser Brian Stahl. He replaces the former assistant, Shauneen Barker.
Stahl, who last worked with the Comal Appraisal District, worked for the Wilson County Appraisal District from 2005-07, he said.
Perhaps the most significant personnel change is the elimination of the data processing manager’s position, which has been held by Raye Ann Jendrusch. Under the proposed fiscal year 2009 budget introduced Sept. 23, she will be considered as the appraisal district’s operations manager.
Jendrush, who also served as interim chief appraiser during the transition from Pape to Bridge, will experience an approximately 48.6-percent increase in pay. As data processing manager, Jendrusch earned $28,943 during the 2008 fiscal year. As operations manager, she will be paid $43,000 during the 2009 fiscal year.
Bridge, Stahl, and Jendrusch were present for their first board of directors meeting Sept. 23, where President Scott Boening presided as board members Ewald Koepp Jr., Frank Pruski, and Tom Ray unanimously accepted the 2007 audit.
The appraisal district’s accountant, Verna Gorzell, said the finances are in satisfactory condition. But she suggested an increase in oversight in, and timelier posting of, payroll expenditures. She also suggested the appraisal district could complete and approve its annual audit more quickly if it started gathering information in November, instead of waiting until the beginning of the next calendar year.
During the meeting, directors also had their first opportunity to review the proposed $1,094,845 fiscal year 2009 budget, which will now be sent to the county’s taxing entities for their approval.
The budget calls for a 2.9-percent overall increase in expenses, which translates to $30,539 over 2008’s expenditures of $1,064,306.
Operating expenses would increase 47.6 percent, from $118,500 to $174,900. Two major contributors of this increase are mileage expenses, projected to increase from $23,000 to $38,000, and computer mapping, projected to increase from $3,000 to $26,500.
The cost of employee benefits is set to increase approximately 9 percent overall. Health insurance, which alone is projected to increase 18 percent, from $78,000 to $92,040, accounts for most of the increase.
The district’s five staff appraisers will all be making $30,000 per year under the proposed budget, which for some means a pay increase of as much as 18.4 percent.
One expense that will disappear for the appraisal district in its new budget is the $45,000 annual payment on the note for the building and land for its offices on Railroad Street.
But an increase in personnel has caused the appraisal district to outgrow its office space. Because Appraisal Review Board hearings were taking place in the conference room simultaneous to the Sept. 23 meeting, the directors had to meet in the much-smaller break room.
Because $120,837 in appraisal district funds went unused in fiscal year 2007, Pruski suggested asking the taxing entities if they could keep this money to fund building renovations and expansion.
“We could make the argument that we decided to update the current building and not use additional taxpayer money to rebuild,” Ray said.
Pruski said, “We were studying spending up to $800,000 to relocate.”
A public hearing on the proposed budget will be held Oct. 14 at 1 p.m. in the appraisal district’s offices at 1611 Railroad Street in Floresville.
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October 7, 2008 6:05pm
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