Smith Co. approves 2014 budget
Tyler, Texas (KETK) —
The Smith County Commissioners Court unanimously approved the Fiscal Year (FY)2014 budget Tuesday, August 27. County Judge Joel Baker, who serves as the county’s budget officer, credits careful financial management and conservative budgeting for a budget that emphasizes the core functions of county government.
“This budget meets our current service demands while it demonstrates cautious management of funds and careful planning for the future,” Judge Baker said.
The Smith County Budget maintains the current tax rate of 32.2 cents per $100 valuation. This budget will raise more total property taxes than last year’s budget by $1,058,986 or 2.45%, and of that amount, $579,274 is tax revenue to be raised from new property added to the tax roll this year. The slight increase in revenue allowed the court to vote on a budget that will ensure that continued quality services are provided to citizens without a tax increase.
The budget was passed following two public hearings and extensive review and compromise by the Commissioners Court.
“We can’t always get everything we want but we can come together and compromise to do what is in the best interest of Smith County citizens,” Commissioner Hampton said.
The complete FY2014 Budget is available for the public to view online at www.smith-county.com.
Highlights from this year’s budget include:
No Tax Increase - The budget is structured against the existing Smith County tax rate of .323564.
Increased Emphasis on Core Functions - There is an increase in funding for materials for the Road and Bridge department to transition the county from primarily a "maintenance mode" to more road reconstruction.
Pay As You Go (P AYGO) projects - The County will continue to address facilities and infrastructure needs with no increased tax burden.
Jail Expansion & Renovations - The county's jail renovation and expansion project is slated for completion in late summer of next year. Considerations were made for adding ten detention officers as the switch is made to direct supervision, which will allow for a more efficient detention officer-to-inmate ratio and overall cost savings.
Maintaining Current Service Levels - Smith County will continue to deliver quality and timely service in response to citizens' needs.
Employee Benefits - a cost of living adjustment of 1.5% is included for non-entry level employees. Elected county official (with the exception of the commissioners and county judge) will receive a salary adjustment based on a review of similar Texas counties.