Brown County Commissioners will adopt the county's budget and tax rate when court convenes at 9 a.m. today at the Brown County Courthouse.
Actually, several things are on the agenda, including a public hearing on the budget for fiscal year 2013. Of the six item new business agenda, the public hearing is third, the adoption of the budget is fourth and the adoption of the tax rate is fifth.
However, the agenda routinely warns “items may not be taken in the order.”
The sixth item on the agenda is “set compensation of elected officials.” The second item is to consider and possibly approve expenditure requests for Precinct 1 Commissioner Bob Clark and Precinct 3 Commissioner Richard Gist. Both commissioners' last day to serve on the court is Dec. 31, and it is state mandate that outgoing officials expenditures be monitored and approved by the court during the last months of their terms.
As is the routine each time commissioners meet, the court will discuss and consider the need for a burn ban. The county is not currently under a ban, but the commissioners may approve one if the court majority agrees a ban is necessary.
Throughout the budget planning process, commissioners have crunched numbers with a decrease of revenue and a significant increase in expenses. At a Sept. 7 meeting, Brown County Judge Ray West said those expenses were in no way discretionary budget items.
“These are expenses that have to be covered,” he said.
Total increase is $459,574, and includes: a $15,000 increase in public defense costs; a $15,000 increase in autopsies; a $41,500 increase for software in the NetData system; additional expenses for the appraisal district; $12,871 for the elections office; an additional $25,000 for the sheriff's office; $100,000 for indigent health care; $20,046 for Brownwood Senior Citizens Center; $97,945 hospital insurance increase; and a 2 percent raise for non-elected county employees.
The proposed tax rate of $0.5099 per $100 of taxable value, if adopted, will raise the average homeowner's taxes to $419.40 a year – $23.80 more than last year's tax on the same property.