GATESVILLE — Coryell County commissioners on Tuesday proposed a 2013 tax rate equal to last year’s rate — 44.9 cents per $100 property valuation — and a 2014 budget trimmed to ensure a 25 percent reserve.
The commissioners court was unanimous on the proposed tax rate, but split 3-2 on the budget that has $11.7 million in general fund revenues and $12.8 million in expenditures.
The general fund will begin the year with a $4.2 million fund balance.
Commissioners Don Jones and Jack Wall joined County Judge John Firth in support of the budget.
Commissioners Daren Moore and Justin Latham voted against the proposal.
Moore said he was “not in favor of this budget for a number of reasons” and said the county needs to look at cutting employee benefits to afford the new jail.
“If we are serious about a new jail, and I think we are, we need to look at reducing our benefits,” Moore said. “We are going to have to start now or next year and the employees have to get ready.”
Wall said he agreed employee benefits would need to be cut but said the new human resources director to be hired next year should advise the court on the cuts.
“I don’t necessarily agree with the benefits cut,” Latham said, “but I think we need to cut more generally to reserve more for the jail.”
Like last year, the budget provides 2 cents of property tax for capital improvement funds earmarked for construction of a new jail by 2017.
Details of the budget will be available to the public Monday at www.coryellcounty.org 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 proposed tax and revenues, and will take final votes on the budget and tax rate Sept. 16.