Commisioners OK tax drop for 2021

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2% decrease falls to 40.4 cents

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Gillespie County Commissioners set a lower tax rate for fiscal year 2021 during their meeting Monday. A tax rate of 40.44 cents per $100 valuation was approved.

“The no-new-revenue tax rate is the tax rate for the 2020 tax year that will raise the same amount of property tax revenue for the county from the same properties in 2019 and 2020,” Gillespie County Auditor Larry Crump said.

The previous rate was set at 0.4125 per $100 valuation, and the new rate marks a decrease of 1.96%.

A voter-approval rate is the highest property tax rate the county may adopt without having a rollback election. The voter approval rate for this tax year was calculated at 0.4284.

The no-new-revenue rate is lower than the voter-approval rate and property taxes will not see an increase for the 2020 tax year.

New properties, however, are expected to add an additional $634,000 of property tax revenue for the county.

“For expenses, we pretty much kept the status quo,” Gillespie County Assistant Auditor Marcie Schneider said. “The commissioners and everyone else understood that everyone is having a hard time dealing with the effects of (the pandemic) and just felt they should keep the rate lower.”

Schneider stated that two changes had been made, decreasing the general revenue by $75,393 and increasing the general fund expenses by $589,661.

The total budget is $36,974,910, about $7.9 million of which is used for special funds, not day-to-day operations, and $1.2 million is for bond debt payment.

Maintenance and Operations expenses, which includes General Fund and Road and Bridge maintenance is set at $27,694,658.

Schneider said the expense increases are spread over various departments but some of the larger additions include the county purchasing a new phone system and phones for approximately $73,000, and maintenance of the new Computer Aided Dispatched and Records Management System and a pay scale adjustment for the Gillespie County Communications Center, totaling around $113,000.

Another notable increase is the county’s share of the joint expenditure for emergency services, approximately $153,000.

Other new expenditures include a new shed at the county yard, maintenance and operations for two new county facilities (Gillespie County AgriLife Extension and Gillespie County Facilities Maintenance/Information Technology) and road and bridge repairs.

Schneider and Crump stated that no county employees saw pay cuts or were laid off because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Employees did not see a cost of living raise though, in an effort to keep expenses lower, Schneider said. A few departments did have pay adjustments for a few specific positions.

The complete budget can be found online at www.gillespiecounty.org.

 

Other budgets

Commissioners also approved the budgets of the Gillespie Central Appraisal District and the Fredericksburg Convention and Visitor Bureau.

Chief Appraiser Scott Fair, said the proposed appraisal budget is about 1.99% less than the previous fiscal year and about 1.55% less for the collections budget.

“This is due to some reorganization and trimming,” Fair said. “We have different budgets because the allocations to the entities are done differently so we have to run two of them.”

Both budgets were approved by the appraisal district board as well as the commissioners.

Ernie Loeffler, president of the Fredericksburg CVB, said the organization’s budget was $2,257,628. The county’s portion totals $460,900.

The total budget for the previous fiscal year was $3,080,429. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the entity took a voluntary cut of $538,000 in expenditures.

Loeffler stated that since 2007, when Hotel Occupancy Taxes were collected, 2019 marked the year where the county marked $5 million in collections. In the same year, total revenue generated by businesses in the city and the county from direct expenditures reached $128 million, about a 9.4% increase from 2018.

 

Airport grant

Gillespie County Airport Manager Tony Lombardi presented the commissioners with a request to receive grant money from the Texas Department of Transportation.

The funds, known as Routine Airport Maintenance Program funds, can be used for routine airport expenses.

The airport will receive $100,000 for the year.

When a project comes up, half the cost will be the responsibility of the county and half will come from RAMP.

“This is a standard, annual agreement between two entities that help cover routine costs out at the airport,” Lombardi said.

The request was approved.

 

Maintenance requests

County Facilities Supervisor John Sandstedt requested funds for remodeling at the Gillespie County AgriLife Extension Office.

Once the new facility is completed, offices in Annex 2 will be relocated to the old building, including elections and the veterans service office.

Commissioners approved funds not to exceed $18,000 for a new window in an office as well as installing a threshold to prevent tripping on the carpet.

“We are going to cut between two doors so there is going to be a little strip where we can install a threshold on the existing carpet,” Sandstedt said. “I don’t think it warrants new carpet.”

Commissioners also approved a proposal from Affordable Movers to move the contents of the existing AgriLife building to the new building. Costs should not exceed $2,500.

 

Other business

Commissioners also:

•  Approved the purchase of nine poll pads, software and printers for the Elections Department.

•  Accepted a donation of a computer and TV to be used for Zoom calls in the jail and a donation for a bite suit to be used for training for the K9 unit in the Gillespie County Sheriff’s Office.      

•  Commissioners court will meet at 9 a.m. Monday, Sept. 28 at the Gillespie County Courthouse.