LAMPASAS — The need to fund road repairs and provide a salary increase for employees may prompt officials to support a 3 percent tax hike in Lampasas County.
In several budget workshops, Lampasas County Commissioners identified a number of concerns, including a much-needed infusion into the county’s road and bridge fund to fix roadways and replace aging equipment.
“We didn’t get an increase last year, and this year, the cost of paving material, road base and various materials have gone up,” County Judge Wayne Boultinghouse said. “So if we don’t increase the tax rate, we’re going to get farther behind.
“We can’t afford to build any bridges; whether the money is to build a new culvert, or whatever, we’ll do what is needed.”
Commissioners held three budget workshops in recent weeks, and the group is expected to make a final decision late next month, County Auditor Chris Munn said.
“At this point, the budget is just a proposal — it has not been voted on yet, but as it stands, the county is considering a 3 percent tax increase to fund equipment and maintain road repairs,” Munn said.
Munn explained 2.5 percent would be dedicated to the road and bridge fund, and 0.5 percent would be deposited into the county’s general fund.
Once approved, the budget will go into effect Oct. 1; however, nothing will be finalized until a required public hearing is held.
“There hasn’t been a lot of money to work with, and they’ve been getting by on a shoe-string budget,” Munn said.
“A lot of the equipment is aged and in need of replacement. Also, employees’ salaries are a concern because we lag so far behind other counties.”
The county wanted to provide a cost of living increase for employees the last few years, but was unable to do so.
Munn said a salary increase would help Lampasas County remain competitive compared to neighboring counties.
“They’re not taking this lightly—they knew this day was coming and they needed to get caught up to get things back in line,” Munn said.