Public hearings set

County residents have their first chance this week to provide input on the proposed Hunt County budget.

County residents have their first chance this week to provide input on the proposed Hunt County budget.

Even though there is a slight decrease in the property tax rate, the budget includes a significant property tax increase.

In speaking Wednesday before the Greenville Noon Rotary Club, County Judge Bobby Stovall said he and the Hunt County Commissioners Court were unable to pull together a larger reduction in the rate.

“With all of the demands on money we weren’t able to provide a rate reduction at this point in time,” Stovall said.

The proposed property tax rate is 50.8512 cents per $100 valuation, compared to the current tax rate of 51.1899 cents per $100 valuation.

The effective tax rate is set at 47.1596 cents, which would be the tax rate needed to raise the same amount of property tax revenue for the county from the same properties in both the current fiscal year and the 2019/2020 tax year.

The rollback rate, the highest tax rate the county may adopt before voters are entitled to petition for an election to limit the rate to the rollback rate, is 50.8513 cents per $100 valuation.

The proposed rate will raise more total property taxes than the current budget by $3,611,548 million or 12.341 percent, and of that amount $1,138,655 is tax revenue raised from new property added to the tax roll this year.

“I wish everybody wouldn’t blame the Appraisal District for that,” Stovall said of the increased property values. “That’s just the way the market is.”

The county is paying for raises in all of the state judges and prosecutors, which was mandated by the Texas Legislature.

“The state didn’t do us any favors this year,” Stovall said. “Guess who gets to pay for it? The taxpayers. The state did not send us one dollar.”

The first public hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday in the Auxiliary Courtroom at 2700 Johnson Street in Greenville.

The second hearing is scheduled in the same location at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 20 and a final public hearing and planned votes on the budget and tax rate are scheduled at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27.

The commissioners wrapped up the annual workshops on the budget July 30.

Under the proposed budget, each of the four commissioners would receive the same amount of $1,614,817, although the commissioners may have different total amounts in which to spend in the coming year, based on whether they had any fund balances left over from the current budget.

Court Appointed Special Advocates for Hunt County and the Boys and Girls Club of Hunt County, which had received $10,000 from the county in the current budget, will receive $15,000 in the coming year.

The proposed budget includes up to $10 million in capital improvements.

Stovall has said he wanted to have the funding on hand to help pay for repairs and maintenance which are expected to be needed at the Hunt County Courthouse and other county offices, as well as for county roads.

A new budget and tax rate must be adopted by the start of the next fiscal year on Oct. 1.