Weatherford Democrat

Aledo ExtrA

September 30, 2013

County FY 2013-14 budget approved

Commissioner Dusty Renfro spotlights road fund deficit

BY JUDY SHERIDAN

Parker County commissioners voted 4-1 Sept. 23 to approve the county’s FY 2013-14 budget and tax rate.

The rate of 41 cents per $100 assessed valuation is the same as last year’s, with 26.5 cents fueling the general fund, 8.3 cents collecting revenue for the lateral road fund and 6.4 cents paying down debt.  

Voting in favor of the 9 percent larger general fund budget and identical tax rate were Judge Mark Riley, Precinct No. 1 Commissioner George Conley, Precinct No. 2 Commissioner Craig Peacock and Precinct No. 3 Commissioner Larry Walden.

Precinct No. 4 Commissioner Dusty Renfro, who voiced concerns about inadequate funding for the road & bridge fund Friday, voted against adopting both the budget and the tax rate.

The motions to approve the general fund and lateral road fund budgets did not specify official figures, but referenced a printout dated Friday afternoon, which followed a morning of funding shifts related to the road & bridge fund.

After court Monday, Riley hand calculated the new general fund budget (balanced by law) for the Democrat at about $41.3 million — up from the current $37.8 million general fund budget and up $2.3 million from Riley’s $39 million proposed budget.

With property tax revenues projected to remain almost unchanged, the 2013-14 budget’s revenue increases come mainly from housing more federal inmates at the Parker County Jail, growth in auto registration and increased sales taxes.

The county intends to spend $675,000 on salary hikes, pay roll costs and insurance benefits, with 67 percent earmarked for the sheriff’s department, according to Riley. Patrol deputies get a 6 percent increase and investigators’ pay is up 5 percent.

Thirty-three percent of the salary increases will go to other general fund employees, Riley said, with an increase for tax assessor collector employees, a 6 percent hike for custodians and hefty boosts for the benefits director and project coordinator posts.

Other rank-and-file (non-elected) employees will receive a 3 percent increase.

Included are higher salaries for court reporters, the auditor and the assistant auditor, which are not set by commissioners.

No other raises were approved, Riley said, and no new employees were hired.

In addition to salaries, funds go toward new software, attorney fees, and certification pay for investigators, Riley said, with about $800,000 dedicated to reserves and contingencies.

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