The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local News

August 25, 2013

Anderson County Commissioners to OK budget, tax rate Monday

PALESTINE — Anderson County Commissioners will give the final OK to its 2014 budget and the coinciding 2013 tax rate during a public hearing and regular meeting on Monday.

The meeting will be held at 9:30 a.m. in the county courtroom of the Anderson County Courthouse Annex, located at 703 N. Mallard St. in Palestine.

During a meeting on Aug. 12, commissioners approved a maximum tax rate of .521 cents per $100 of property value on which to base the 2014 budget, which  matches the current tax rate of .521.

A statement on the proposed budget, posted on the county’s web site, states, “This budget will raise less revenue from property taxes than last year’s budget by an amount of $111,497, which is a .9 percent decrease from last year’s budget. The property tax revenue to be raised from new property added to the tax roll this year is $115,500.”

County Judge Robert Johnston previously reported that while working on the 2014 budget has been a challenge, there have been no major cuts made or additional expense items added to the budget.

“When you lose that much money (in values), you have to try to find the line there,” he said, following a discussion on lower property values Aug. 12. “You have to pare down all you can pare down.”

Overall property values for Anderson County dropped $25 million over last year, due to a $33 million loss in mineral values and a $5 million loss in new construction values, she said.

“The Fairway Unit, a large oil and gas lease in Frankston that has been pumping since the 1930s, is going dry,” Anderson County Judge Robert Johnston told the Herald-Press. “Over the next four years, the lease is expected to dry up, causing a total drop in values of $110 million in that time.”

New construction values for Anderson County are $22,168,942, dropping $5 million from last year’s values of $27,331,953.

Last year’s (2013) approved budget included revenues of about $17.8 million.

Other items on Monday’s agenda include:

• Approve minutes of previous meetings.

• Reports from county officials.

• Budget amendments, bills and utility crossing county roads.

• Receive District Judges’ Order setting salaries for County Auditor’s office and court reporters and order that they be paid.

• Hear from Emily Lane, Chief Juvenile Probation Officer, regarding long-term placement at Gulf Coast Center.

• Consider and take action on Smith County Juvenile Detention’s short-term contract.

• Approve election judges and central counting station judges for the 2013-14 August term.

• Establish a new polling place for Commissioner Precinct 2 — Voting Box 6.

• Consider/approve sponsorship of Montalba Water Supply Corporation for a 2015-15 Texas Community Development Block grant application for submission to the Office of Rural Affairs within the Texas Department of Agriculture.

• Discuss/approve GrantWorks, Inc. to prepare and submit the 2015-16 Texas Community Development Block Grant program application for Anderson County on behalf of Montalba Water Supply Corporation for water system improvements.

• Discuss and take action on contract with LGS.

• Consider and take action on contracts with East Texas Council of Governments for continued 911 service for FY 2014-15 and take action as necessary.

• Consider accepting the State Automated Victims Notification System Renewal Grant for FY2014 and take action as necessary.

• Consider contracts with East Texas Council of Governments for continued ALI, Automatic Location Information, for FY 2014-15 and take action as necessary.

• Consider and take action on the County Choice Silver renewal for 2014.

• Declare list of vehicles and equipment as surplus to sell at auction and take action as necessary.

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Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at mrainwater@palestineherald.com

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