NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The Nacogdoches County Commissioner's Court approved the fiscal budget for this current year on Tuesday, which means the five cent tax hike will begin on the first of October.
The approximately $18 million budget will go into effect on October 1. $3 million of that budget is earmarked for the road and bridge department, $5 million for governmental services, administration, legal, expo and civic center and the remaining $10 million for law enforcement and the judicial system.
"It's a very good budget---very hard budget. We did start at a $2.4 million shortfall. As documented, we did have to go up on our tax rate five cents per $100 value. It's unfortunate to do that, but that is due to the fact that the revenue that I derived from minerals has dropped consistently now for the past 4 years," Jim Elder, the Pct. 3 commissioner, said.
Elder says the five cent tax hike will generate about $1.3 million and an additional $600,000 will be taken out of the fund balance.
"We do have a healthy fund balance. We have good reserves. The counties are in pretty strong shape for going through tough times. Things look good on the horizon so for right now happy with the budget, unfortunately it's tough that we did go up on taxes," Elder said.
Elder says the budget affords the county to not have to lay off any employees and it will give employees a 2 percent raise. The first raise they've had in four years, Elder said.
But he does say he understands that the tax rate is going to be hard for some.
"I own property here in Nacogdoches County and I'm going to feel it, but this is again an unfortunate situation," Elder said. "If we were to try this budget this year without a tax increase we would have to cut an additional $1.5 million out of a basically $18 million budget. So we would have to reduce services," Elder said.
To read the entire county budget for the 2013-2014 year visit http://www.co.nacogdoches.tx.us/.