By Mason W. Canales
Killeen Daily Herald
GATESVILLE - The Coryell County Commissioners Court raised the county's property tax rate by 0.14 cents and adopted the 2011-12 fiscal year budget Monday.
"The reality of it is we should have gone up a cent," said Commissioner Daren Moore, adding that the county should probably look at a 2-cent increase next year to balance the budget.
The court originally planned to keep the property tax rate of 42.28 cents per $100 of assessed property value, but some "unforeseen bills" contributed to the court adding $200,000 to expenditures in the general fund and selecting the effective rate of 42.42 cents per $100 of assessed property value, County Judge John Firth said at the meeting.
"We can't move the tax rate any higher than the effective rate," Firth said. "It will bring in the same amount of dollars as this year."
The 42.42-cent rate is anticipated to generate about $8.3 million for the county's general operation fund and about $567,000 for the county's debt service fund.
Sales tax revenues are expected to raise about $1.5 million for the general fund. The 2011-12 fiscal year's budget estimates expenditures for the general fund will be almost $12 million and for the debt service fund at $545,000.
Even with the property tax increase, the county will still use a portion of its reserves for the budget to be balanced, as it only is expected to increase the revenues by $30,000 for the upcoming year.
The county will spend about $170,000 from its reserves to meet the $200,000 addition expenditures budgeted Monday, which will pay for court-appointed attorneys, the use of an emergency call notification system, radio systems for the county and to house county jail inmates out of county.
Most of the additions were minimal, with the most significant being an increase of $63,000 to housing jail inmates out of county. The proposed budget now estimates the cost of housing inmates out of county at about a half-million dollars for the 2011-12 year.
"County governments are the least predictive because a lot of that is law enforcement and a lot that is unknown," Firth said about additions to the budget.
Contact Mason W. Canales at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7474. Follow him on Twitter at KDHCoveeditor.