Erath County commissioners have proposed a .4660 tax rate for the upcoming year, a figure up slightly from last year's tax rate of .4458.
Judge Alfonso Campos said the court is trying to collect the debt rate to pay off the jail note.
“Debt rate basically is collecting a percentage of taxes on whatever money you owe. We still owe roughly $4 million for the jail that was constructed in 2010,” he told the E-T.
The court learned after they approved the 2018-2019 budget that the jail note could not be paid off early. They’re proposing to reinstate the debt service rate to the tax rate, which is required by law when the county has debt.
“This allows the county to continue to make annual payments on the jail note; keeps the tax rate below levels dating back to 2014; and allows us to take on some major projects that are long overdue,” Campos said.
Some of those projects include funding for improvements to radios and related infrastructure for the Erath County Sheriff’s Office, EMS, Fire; and funding for capital projects to provide additional office space and to address state-mandated security measures at county facilities.
The increase also includes a raise for the Erath County commissioners.
"In the vote, it included an across the board raise of $2,000, roughly $167 a month to most all of the employees," Campos said.
A public hearing for the tax rate will be held at 9 a.m. Friday.
“This is the proposal and that’s why we’re having hearings,” Campos said. “We’re going to take into consideration all of the comments that we get and we’re all going to go back to the table and see where we’re at with the projects that we feel like are very necessary to move forward to improve the services and the facilities of the county, to improve our communications and to continue paying our debt on the jail. We hope that we can come to an agreement on what the best direction to go is on this budget.”
On Sept. 11, the commissioners will meet to set the final budget.
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