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Officials Proposing No Change To County Tax Rate

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Hopkins County Commissioners Court Monday morning gave approval for the county tax rate to remain the same, at the recommendation of Tax Assessor/Collector Debbie Pogue Mitchell. 
She reported officials from her office and those of the appraisal district and auditor’s office met last week to go over tax rolls. Work proceeded to calculate a tax rate to propose to commissioners court. 
Recent legislative changes regarding tax caps will impact school districts this year but won’t affect cities and counties until next year. However, she recommended local officials began looking at the matter to being preparations in order to be ready for it in the next budget cycle.
Mitchell recommended the county keep the same tax rate of $0.624892, which is above the effective rate of $0.577457 but below the rollback rate of $0.62556.

That, according to the proposed budget posted on the county website, should generate an additional $752,789 in revenue from property taxes in the coming year, compared to the current tax year, including $272,117 in tax revenue from new property added to the tax roll this year.

As required, two public hearings must be conducted by the county before the tax rate can be formally adopted because the proposed tax rate, the same as in the last couple of years, is above the effective rate. 
Public hearings are to be held during the regular meeting of Hopkins County Commissioners Court at 9 a.m. Monday, Aug. 26; and during a special  called meeting at 9 a.m. Sept. 3. 
Judge Robert Newsom said that should allow the county to approve the rate and have the budget ready for a vote by Sept. 9. 

District Clerk’s Technology Fund

Also during Monday’s court session, a public hearing was held. District Clerk Cheryl Fulcher asked the commissioners to consider a plan for the District Clerk’s Technology Fund.

In 2009, Fulcher explained, Senate Bill 1685 set the a $10 technology fee district clerks would collect as part of regular court fees to apply toward preservation and restoration of the office’s records. That fee was to drop to decrease to $5, however, the current legislative session changed that to allow district clerks to charge a tehnology fund fee up to $10.

That has be reflected in the county budget when it’s approved. Commissioners gave approval for a $10 fee to be charged

Interlocal contract with Lubbock County

In other financial matters, the commissioners court also Monday approved an agreement with Lubbock County, pursuant to the Fair Defense Act in Texas Code of Criminal Procedure and Texas Government Code.

“That is our capital murder insurance protection,” said Newsom.

The amount to be paid per year has gone down, according to the county auditor.

Line item transfers

Line item transfers approved for the district clerk and county attorney’s offices included:

  • District clerk — $1,426 to be moved from the district clerk’s office equipment fund to the schools and training fund so the clerk can attend a conference in September.
  • County Attorney — moving $4,468.40 from the county contingency fund to the county attorney ‘s office. When the county attorney’s office sustained heavy damages due to the building flooding, repairs and new computers were paid for out of the operating budget, leaving a deficit in that fund. Moving that amount from the contingency fund would help off set the deficit in that fund and provide enough funding for the county attorney’s office to make needed purchases, according to the county auditor.
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Author: Faith Huffman

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