Proposed Budget Includes 2 Percent Pay Increase For All Hopkins County Employees, Elected Officials

Sulphur Springs, TX – August 10, 2020 – Hopkins County Commissioners Court are proposing a “very conservative” budget, which would include a 2 percent pay increase for all county employees and elected officials. No increase to the overall tax rate is planned.

The property tax rate as proposed will still be $0.624892. This is figured based on Senate Bill 2, which changed some factors in the way tax rates are calculated.

Hopkins County Commissioners Court meeting Aug. 10, 2020

“The noted revenue rate was $0.598662, the voter approval rate was 0.626583. We are below the voter approval rate. We are above the noted revenue rate, which will cause a tax increase even though our tax rate will remain the same.,” Hopkins County Tax Assessor/Collector Debbie Mitchell reported during Monday’s regular Commissioners Court meeting.

“The tax increase will come from appraised values, right?” Precinct 3 Commissioner Wade Bartley asked.

“It’s probably going to come from the new revenue. If we didn’t have the new revenue, then our tax rate would be the $0.598662. But because of new revenue it is above that,” Mitchell said.

“We’re below the voter approval rate,” Newsom said.So, you’re saying we need to have a public hearing?”

Mitchell affirmed a public hearing. The Commissioners Court agreed to Mitchell’s recommendation to hold the public hearing for adoption of the tax rate for 9 a.m. August 17, 2020.

“This budget will raise more revenue from property taxes than last year’s budget by an amount of $425,410, which is a 3.4 percent increase from last year’s budget. The property tax revenue to be raised from new property added to the tax roll this year is $366,995,” said Hopkins County Auditor Shannah Aulsbrook.

Those extra funds, in addition to a 2 percent pay increase for all county employees and elected officials, also includes an additional $25 more a year for in longevity pay as well, according to Aulsbrook.

“We were able to address the needs at the sheriff’s office, fire department, the volunteer fire departments as well as other areas within this budget,” Aulsbrooks noted.

“We stayed below Senate Bill 2 requirements. Historically, before Senate Bill 2 it was 8 percent. Now it’s 3.5 percent. But, we stayed below that limits so we’re able to still — we’re conservative in normal budget — still able to do a cost of living raise to employees and few other adjustments,” Newsom said.

Among those adjustments were an additional employee, a dispatch leader, for the sheriff’s office, and the county’s cost match of a grant which has allowed the county this spring to add three firefighters, one per 24-hour duty-shift. Also, adjustments were made for administrative changes at the fire department and then in about 90 days we are going to be doing an electronic payroll, which should be more efficient

“It’s a good budget. It’s a very conservative budget,” Newsom said. “This budget is more conservative than the budgets we’ve had in the past, intentionally knowing the type of year that we’ve had and the kind of year I believe we’re going to have in the future,” Newsom said.

The proposed $13.5 million budget can be viewed under the “proposed budget” tab under the “financial transparency” menu on the county website, http://www.hopkinscountytx.org. It will also be posted as of Aug. 10 at Hopkins County Clerk’s Office.

Hopkins County Courthouse, 118 Church Street.

Author: Faith Huffman

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