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County proposes reduced tax rate
Wilson County NewsAugust 28, 2013 | 2,926 views | 4 comments
The Wilson County Commissioners Court is proposing a decrease in the county’s property-tax rate, to 43.64 cents per $100 of appraised property value, 1.69 cents down from the present rate of 45.33 cents. Revenue from this ad valorem tax will support a budget of $18,483,822 to operate Wilson County during the 2014 fiscal year, according to a budget adopted by the Wilson County Commissioners Court at its Aug. 26 meeting.
According to the Wilson County Appraisal District, the average taxable value of a residence in Wilson County is $145,800. Therefore, the proposed rate would result in an average tax bill of $636.27 -- a decrease of $11.12 over last year, when the average residential property had a taxable value of $142,818.
According to County Auditor Verna Gorzell, the proposed rate includes 43.01 cents for maintenance and operations, with the remaining 0.63 cents being levied for debt service. This is a dramatic departure from last year’s 1.82-cent rate for debt service, due to the county having paid off the balance on bonds purchased to finance the 1996 construction of the Wilson County Criminal Justice Center.
The budget also includes a forecasted 20-percent increase in individual health-insurance premiums for all county employees, in addition to 5-percent across-the-board salary increases for all personnel except those working within the justice center. Gorzell said each jailer, sheriff’s deputy, and sheriff’s dispatcher will receive an increase of $3,000.
Gorzell said following an Aug. 22 special meeting -- that also included a budget workshop -- that she was unsure what basis the commissioners court used for arriving at the percentages by which to increase salaries. While the commissioners provided no supporting information either, Wilson County Pct. 2 Commissioner Paul Pfeil -- who has had a road and bridge department vacancy since March -- said the increase was necessary because the county is losing employees to oil and natural gas jobs created by the ongoing activities within the Eagle Ford shale.
“To me, the 5 percent, it don’t bring the employees up to what the oil field is making, but it keeps them here,” he said.
The budget and tax rate were key topics during a budget workshop held during the Aug. 22 special meeting. Also during that meeting, the commissioners met with architect Lyndsay Thorn of Thorn-Graves about the status of estimates for proposed renovations to the Wilson County Courthouse and the Wilson County Courthouse Annex III. Preliminary estimates now place the project’s grand total at $9,183,690, including:
•Justice Center Complex (renovations to the west wing of Annex III), $3.98 million
•Justice Center parking, $385,000
•Library (north wing of Annex III), without porches, $1.98 million
•Library porches, $187,000
•Courthouse interior, $915,057
•Courthouse exterior and foundation, $1,985,405.
The capital improvements are the subject of a special election set for Nov. 5, in which voters will be asked to weigh in on the county’s intention to issue up to $8.5 million in certificates of obligation. (See “Citizens succeed with petition on county debt,” Aug. 14.)
In attendance: Wilson County Judge Marvin Quinney and commissioners Albert Gamez Jr., Paul Pfeil, Ricky Morales and Larry Wiley; County Attorney Daynah Fallwell, County Clerk Eva Martinez, Sheriff Joe D. Tackitt Jr., County Auditor Verna Gorzell, Treasurer Jan Hartl, Assistant County Auditor Kristin Labus, Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace Richard “Dickie” Jackson, Library Director Nicki Stohr, Wilson County District Clerk Deborah Bryan, and Deputy District Clerk Sharon Scriven
See videos/story from Aug. 26 meeting: http://www.wilsoncountynews.com/article.php?id=53182
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August 31, 2013 12:29am
The Marcelina Muse
Dry Tank, TX
August 28, 2013 12:22pm
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