Erath County Judge Tab Thompson said a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into preparing this year's budget and that he's pleased with the outcome.

Erath County still has no debt service, which is an accomplishment Thompson said comes with sound financial management and planning.

The good news is the property tax rate was lowered to $.041.87 from $.043.35 per $100 valuation, according to James Young, county auditor. The levy was set at $8,552,000 through property taxes and new property added to the tax role.

“Half of the budget is funded through property taxes, Young said.

Those county residents that saw little or no change in their property appraisals will see no increase this year, but the county will see an increase in revenue because of increase in values and new construction, Young reported.

Young said the state stays on the appraisal district to get property values up, but if the appraisal property value was not increased then the property taxes will go down.

“Raw land went up in value because raw land is just going crazy, Young said. “Newer properties went up, but older residential property didn't go up or didn't go up as much.

Thompson said he is pleased that the new budget contains a 50 percent increase for cost of living to county retirees.

“The current retirees will be very, very proud of that, Young said.

Highlights in this year's budget include:

$200,000 for the Long Hotel interior renovation

$300,000 for a capital murder trial

$99,000 for the EMS budget (new ambulance)

$100,00 for the remodel of the fire station to house all of EMS