Angelina Commissioners approve new budget with a slight tax increase

LUFKIN, TX (AP) - With the fiscal yearstarting October 1, all Deep East Texas counties are finalizing their newbudgets. Angelina County commissioners approved their $22.8 million generalfund Tuesday morning.

The microphone was turnedon for Angelina County citizens to have one last chance to voice their opinion onthe proposed budget for 2014. No one would step forward to talk.

With little publicopposition after two public hearings and this morning's open forum, the commissioners'court voted to raise the current tax rate from 0.4619 to 0.4699. In money termsthat averages to $20 for the average tax payer.

"The last severalyears we have tried to keep our tax rates as low as we can and still do thethings necessary for the citizens of the county," said Precinct 3 Commissioner,Robert Loggins.

The rate increase willhelp the county's budget in two ways.

First, there will be a 5% payincrease for all county employees. It will be the first raise in four years.

"Can you imagine going four years withouta increase in salary," said Precinct 4 Commissioner, Scott Cooper. "Especially withthe way our economy is, it was a fair and accurate time. It's time for it."

Angelina County Judge WesSuiter said that he felt after not granting a raise in the last four years, itwas needed.

"All of our employeesare very professional," said Suiter. "They are concerned with providing a goodservice to the public when they come in that need that service. I think themorale is lifted to the next level."

The tax rate will also addressadded security measures at the court house.

"As we look at ourschools and see that schools are being filled with police and other buildings throughoutour state and country," said Sanches. "So, it's definitely a hot topic andpeople are concerned about it. We're concerned about it as well, so we want tobe prepared."

The cost of the new featureswill be between $150,000 and $160,000 over the next 12 months.

All counties in the state must have their2014 fiscal budgets done by the end of September.

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