Update for August 28, 2014
County tax rate likely to hold steady in 2015
By Lewis H. Mathews
Medina County Judge James E. Barden presented a proposed budget for the 2015 Fiscal Year, which begins Oct. 1, at Commissioners Court held Monday, Aug. 25. A public budget hearing on the budget is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 22.
In the 109 page proposal, Barden recommends that the property tax rates should remain unchanged next year. The rate to raise general fund revenues is currently 41.95¢ per $100 of property value. For the Farm to Market/Flood Control Fund that supplies the precinct budgets, 9¢/$100 is also collected. An additional 1.55¢ goes to service existing county debt. The total county tax rate currently is 52.5¢ / $100 for all revenue needs.
If this proposal is accepted, the amount of funds collected, and therefore the effective taxation rate, would increase slightly because of rising property values. However, this remains well below the threshold of an 8% increase where a successful petition campaign could trigger a state mandated rollback referendum. Public hearings on these proposed rates will be held on Thursday, Sept. 4 at 6 p.m. and Monday, Sept. 8 at 10 a.m.
Raises in the salaries for elected officials is also under consideration. The county attorney position will receive the largest increase of 20%; however, this $16,330.48 figure is inflated slightly by a previous allowance that was paid separately being rolled into the overall salary figure. Judge Barden said this still substantial raise is warranted to bring the position in line with market norms.
The precinct constables are also in line for a large raise on a percentage basis, 17%. The actual dollar amount of the proposed increase is $3,759.02. The Medina County Sheriff and the Justices of the Peace are scheduled to receive an 8% bump in pay.
The rest of the officials are slated to receive a 5% cost of living increase, rounded to the nearest $100. Retirees are in line for a 2% increase, but Judge Barden pointed out that this will not apply to him personally because it is only for those who retired by the end of last year.
Public hearings on these proposed salary increases are set for Monday, Sept. 8 at 10 a.m.
In other news:
• The court authorized the county to advertise sealed bids for construction of a new Castroville WIC Office inside the soon to be purchased property for the new Medina County Annex in Castroville.
• The Court heard a second presentation by Carlos Benavides about the need to reopen the old County Road 773 in Precinct 4 and extend it to serve as an access road for a portion of Interstate 35. Judge Barden agreed to raise the issue with the Texas Department of Transportation to see if it can be added to their existing improvement plans.
• A six month contract with Hondo Attic Self Storage for four climate controlled storage units to house county records temporarily was authorized. The combined cost for these units is $1039.80 a month. The county was also authorized to advertise for sealed bids for the purchase and installation of shelving units that can be used in the storage units, and then moved to the county records facility when it is completed.
• Election day times and locations for the general election on Nov. 4 were approved.
• The purchase of a Caterpillar CW14 Pneumatic Compactor Roller from Holt CAT with a BuyBoard Co-op quote of $78,830 by Pct. 2 was approved.
• The court authorized the county to issue payment in the amount not to exceed $1.6 million for closing the purchase of property at 8406 FM 471S in Castroville for the new Medina County Annex.
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