by Crystal Gottfried
Comal County’s commissioners voted unanimously to approve the 2006 tax rate at 31.52 cents per $100 of assessed valuation in a special meeting that was only attended by elected officials and county department heads.
When Precinct 4 Commissioner Jan Kennady made the motion on September 11 to adopt the tax rate, she pointed out that 29.6224 cents of it went toward maintenance and operations, while 1.8977 cents went to debt service; acknowledging for the record that the tax rate would raise maintenance and operation taxes over last year’s rate.
The budget was adopted two weeks ago after public hearings were held. It includes pay raises for some county employees, but no cost-of-living increases. There is an allowance for possible merit raises in July 2007.
There are also no pay raises for elected officials in the 2007 budget however County Judge Danny Scheel has promised that they would be included in his next budget proposal.
According to County Auditor David Renken, the new tax rate, which is four cents lower than last year, was broken down as follows:
• General Fund: 22 cents.
• Jury Fund: .5 cents.
• Indigent Services: 1.8 cents.
• Road and Bridge: 5 cents
• Flood Control: .001 cents
The 2007 budget process, which began last April with proposed budgets submitted to Scheel by the county’s department heads, provides for the addition of several new employees in the sheriff’s office, the district attorney’s office and the road department. That cost could be about $200,000.
County reserves would be increased by $550,000; a new district court would be established at a cost of $324,000; and the purchase of right-of-way property for the Texas 46 and U.S. 281 road expansion project would cost $3 million.