Weatherford Democrat

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August 18, 2013

No call for county tax hike as budget talks begin

By JUDY SHERIDAN

Parker County commissioners begin discussions on the county’s $56.4 million FY 2013-14 budget Monday.

The proposed tax rate of 41 cents per $100 assessed valuation is the same as last year’s.

The $39 million General Fund budget, proposed by Judge Mark Riley, is balanced and up about 3 percent overall from last year’s.

The revenue expected from property taxes is virtually unchanged, but other significant revenue increases are projected, with $495,000 to come from housing more federal inmates in the Parker County Jail and $580,000 from increases in auto registration, according to Riley. The budget also forecasts a $268,000 increase in sales taxes.

The proposed budget does not assign the $1.3 million in additional funds to specific expenditures, lumping them into a contingencies category until future court discussion.

Riley said the court will use the undesignated funds to pay for increases in employee health insurance, yet unknown, new software for the sheriff’s office and a portion of state-mandated salary increases for district and county court-at-law judges.

“It will be moved over and designated when we adopt the budget,” Riley said. “Some of this stuff I didn’t have exact numbers on when I filed my budget, so I said we’ll just put the money right there — everybody knows where it is — that’s what we’re going to draw from as we make those adjustments...”

The proposed budget for the county’s Road and Bridge Fund, also balanced, is about $10.8 million, with little change from last year.

The Debt Service fund rises from about $6 million to about $6.6 million, with expenditures reflecting the lease-purchase of the county’s updated judicial software. It is also a balanced budget.

In addition to the General Fund, Road and Bridge Fund and Debt Service Fund — supported by taxes — the county maintains many other funds, most associated with fees, according to County Auditor Mike Rhoten,

When those funds are combined with the major funds, he said, the county’s total proposed budget for FY 2013-14 is approximately $76.9 million.

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