GATESVILLE — The Coryell County Commissioners’ Court cut more than $170,000 in proposed general fund spending from the draft 2014 budget Monday, and they are not done yet.

Commissioners will reconvene at 8 a.m. today to resume their quest to slice at least $200,000 in spending to ensure a 25 percent budget reserve and avoid a tax hike.

The road and bridge department, the sheriff, the county clerk and the district court all took a trim as the county moves toward crafting a fiscal year 2014 budget and setting the 2013 tax rate to fund the spending.

The draft budget shows general fund revenues of about $11.7 million and expenditures of about $12.9 million for a deficit of $1.2 million and a 23 percent reserve.

County Judge John Firth urged commissioners to keep two years of property tax revenue at 2 cents a year “fenced” for the construction of a new jail. Commissioners agreed to put that money off limits during budget cuts.

The “fenced” jail funds include more than $440,000 from last year and a similar amount next year for a total of more than $800,000, Firth said.

Under proposed adjustments, the county road and bridge department gave back $40,000 in materials and contract services in budget requests.

Sheriff Johnny Burks agreed to wait six months before hiring two new deputies, saving about $60,000 from his request.

County Clerk Barbara Simpson saved the budget cutters $18,000 by agreeing to shift her request for software maintenance back into a dedicated fund. She also volunteered to cut her travel budget request by $500.

County Attorney Brandon Belt suggested cutting $10,000 from the $33,000 he had recommended to fund a visiting judge and court reporter in the coming year.

Commissioners agreed to remove $20,000 in computer maintenance and another $25,000 from litigation funding.

Travel budgets for all county employees could see a decrease as commissioners continue cutting in efforts to complete the budget this week.

Starting Aug. 19, the proposed 2014 budget will be posted for public review on the county website at and in the offices of the county clerk and county judge in Gatesville and Copperas Cove.

The commissioners’ court will hold public hearings Aug. 26 and Aug. 30 on the proposed 2013-14 tax rate.

Contact Tim Orwig at

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