By Lisa Soule
Killeen Daily Herald
BELTON Bell County commissioners unanimously passed a $46.6 million budget Monday and lowered the property tax rate for the upcoming fiscal year.
County Judge Jon Burrows was quick to point out that Bell Countys tax rate is the lowest in the region and is moving in the opposite direction of other counties that are considering increases.
The combined county and road district tax rate will dip a fraction of a cent, from 36.5 cents per $100 property valuation to 36.1 cents.
Coryell County residents paid 41.2 cents in property tax last year. Williamson County levied 48.1 cents and Lampasas levied 50.6 cents.
Precinct 2 Commissioner Tim Brown noted that Bell County hovers in the mid-30s in the 254-county ranking of tax rates.
The county is looking to collect about $20.3 million in property taxes this year. A growing
tax base will mean about $1.4 million more in property tax collection next year compared to the current year. About $9.7 million is expected in sales tax revenue.
Fees account for the countys third highest source of revenue, with about $6.3 million projected for next year.
Licenses and permits are expected to bring in about $2.2 million and fines and forfeitures are projected at $2.6 million.
Commissioners approved a 2 percent salary increase for all employees and officials, which will cost the county about $444,000. Increasing health insurance costs will add about $256,000 to next years budget.
About $1.6 million more in non-personnel expenditures include rising utility rates, higher prices for appointed attorneys, and higher rates for medical services including exams and autopsies.
Burrows said the county has maintained a double A bond rating and remains in sound financial condition with more than four months operating expenses held in reserve.
Contact Lisa Soule at firstname.lastname@example.org.