Gregg County commissioners approve $47.2 million budget
POSTED: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - 11:33am
UPDATED: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - 11:44am
Longview, TX — The Gregg County Commissioners Court unanimously approved a $47.2 million budget Tuesday.
The budget keeps property tax rate the same at 26.25 cents per $100 valuation; however, rising property values mean the rate will generate $482,000 more in local tax dollars.
Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt said new properties on the tax roll, including 270 new homes, account for $265,000 of the increased funding.
While commissioners unanimously approved the budget, Pct. 2 Commissioner Darryl Primo voted against the property tax rate, arguing the county has enough money in reserves to lower the rate.
“I am not complaining that we are not increasing the taxes,” Primo said. “Gregg County is a wealthy county. We have high fund balances — more than enough. We have surplus, we have excess funds, and I have expressed my opinion to you guys on more than one occasion that I think there is some room for us to lower the tax rate.”
Primo’s assertion stems from a fund balance that, according to audited financial statements, has grown during the past 10 years to about $69 million.
Stoudt said that truly unrestricted county funds are about half that $69 million, and that a conservative approach is needed because of economic uncertainties.
“We have uncertain costs being pushed down from the state to the county level,” Stoudt said. “Bottom line is we are very conservative in what we spend. We didn’t spend any more than we put in. We spent almost $2 million less this year than we spent last year, so it is just not prudent.
Read more from the Longview News-Journal.