There is no telling how expensive Hurricane Harvey will be to Texas.
With budgets being approved all over the state, it could be a game changer.
Coryell County Judge John Firth thanked members of the Commissioners Court for more than two months of work on the 2017-2018 budget.
With all that has happened in Texas, it may be an exercise in futility, according to Firth.
Members of the Coryell County Commissioners Court held two public hearings Tuesday morning at the county meeting room — on for a proposed tax rate and another for the 2017-2018 proposed budget.
Only one person spoke during the hearing. Commissioners are expected to vote on the budget and tax rate at their Sept. 18 meeting at 9 a.m. The fiscal year begins Oct. 1.
Firth said there is millions of dollars in damage to infrastructure in the Harvey’s wake. He expects the state to reconvene for a special session.
“Nobody knows how much Harvey is going to cost . . . and the state has already passed its budget,” Firth said. “It is going to break their budget.”
He expects the state to take money from counties to help pay for needed repairs as a result of Harvey.
Coryell and other counties are also members of the Texas Association of Counties risk pool. Firth said it is inevitable counties will see an increase in contributions next year.
The general fund for Coryell County in 2017-2018 is expected to have expenses of $16.4 million with revenue at $15.5 million. County Auditor Ben Roberts said last week the county being frugal over the years allows them to propose a deficit budget.
“We will use funds from previous years,” Roberts said. “There are three months during the year where there is no tax money coming in.”
The county is expected to have a fund equity of more than $5 million at the end of the 2016-2017 budget. That total is expected to be decreased to $4.1 million —— or 25 percent of the budget.
Roberts, who works with Firth on the budget, said a 25 percent fund equity is a suggested amount by auditors.
The budget will raise more revenue from property taxes than last year by more than $1.3 million —— an 11 percent increase from last year’s budget. Property revenue to be raised from new property added to the tax roll this year is $266,574.
The proposed tax rate for fiscal year 2017 is 54.53 cents per $100 of taxable value. That is higher than the effective rate of 49 cents per $100 of taxable value —— the rate needed to raise the same amount of money in the fiscal year 2017. The rollback tax rate is 54.54 cents per $100 of taxable value.
Just over 44 cents per $100 of taxable value for a home will be used for the general fund; 5.6 cents will be for roads; and the remainder for the sinking fund, fire department and capital improvements.