County gets earful on jail’s tax rate jump

By Lisa Treiber-Walter —

Questions, answers and discussions at last night’s two public hearings at the courthouse centered on Gillespie County’s new jail project and how it will impact local taxpayers.

Commissioners hosted the public forums to provide information and hear citizens’ concerns regarding their proposed $30 million budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year and the proposed seven-cent property tax hike.

Both will be considered for adoption at the elected officials’ regularly scheduled 9 a.m. court session Monday, Sept. 9, in the county courtroom at the Gillespie County Courthouse, 101 W. Main St.

Proposed county budget

Gillespie County is expecting its budget to soar to about $30 million from $18.6 million — primarily due to the big-ticket item of the voter-approved construction of a multi-million-dollar Gillespie County Jail.

“We anticipate spending most of the money to construct that new jail in the next fiscal year,” said County Judge Mark Stroeher, adding that building project will be an estimated $11.9 million and the county’s first debt payment for the issued bonds will be about $1.2 million, bringing the 2014 total expenditures for the new jail to $13.1 million.

On top of that, the county’s expected spending will have another $12.8 million in general fund expenditures, $3.3 million in road and bridge fund spending and nearly $1 million in special funds (which are required by the state, but highly restricted in use and access by the county).

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