The Williamson County Commissioners Court adopted a $191 million budget for fiscal year 2017-18 and reduced the overall county tax rate by one cent per $100 valuation as compared to last year.
“We are very encouraged about the financial condition of Williamson County. It took a lot of time and deliberation to approve the budget, but it is because we are concerned about spending citizens’ money," said County Judge Dan A. Gattis. "In short, we have had a very good year and appreciate the support we receive from Williamson County.”
Gattis said the county was able to lower the tax rate by one cent, and transferred $11 million into capital improvements for facilities without issuing bonds.
With the new budget, the plan is to pay down more than $19 million in debt saving, with millions more in interest, Gattis said.
The county commissioners adopted their General Fund $191 million budget for fiscal 2017-2018 allowing a 6.5 percent increase over last year’s adopted budget of $179 million.
The new budget funds the third and final year of a radio replacement plan at a cost of $1.9 million and 35 new full-time employees, including six personnel in Emergency Medical Services, to staff a new EMS station in Cedar Park with one ambulance.
County commissioners also set the tax rate for 2017-2018. Two public hearings were held on the proposed tax rate of $0.47 per $100 of valuation on Aug. 15 and 22. The Commissioners Court reduced the General Fund tax rate by one cent to $0.25 per $100 valuation.
The Road and Bridge tax rate remains at $.04, and the Debt Service tax rate remains $.1675. This equates to an overall county tax rate of $0.466 per $100 valuation which is a one cent reduction from last year’s total tax rate.
The Commissioners Court included $10 million for the Long-Range Transportation Plan corridor studies with $7 million coming from the general fund and $3 million from Road and Bridge. It also includes roughly $11 million for capital improvement projects.
“A highlight of the recently adopted budget is a fully-staffed ambulance and command unit that will be located at Cedar Park Fire Station #5 that is currently under construction," said Commissioner Cynthia Long. “I am grateful to have adopted a fiscally conservative budget that will improve public safety in Precinct Two.”
The County will begin providing on-site sewage facility services starting Oct. 2. Seven employees currently with the program will transfer from Williamson County and Cities Health District employees to county employees with a total staff of eight.
A one percent cost of living increase was given to all employees not on the Law Enforcement or Corrections pay charts.
A three percent increase was given to the merit pool for employees not on the Law Enforcement or Corrections pay charts. By policy, employees may receive no merit increase or as much as five percent in any given year. No increase was given for elected officials’ salaries.
All Corrections and Law Enforcement officers will receive a step increase based on the tenure pay grade step charts. The step increase is between 2 percent and 2.25. The average total pay increase for officers in these two grade charts will be greater than 5 percent.
The county budget will be filed in the County Clerk’s Office in the Justice Center, 405 MLK, Georgetown and is available at that office in person or can be viewed at www.wilco.org by selecting the Budget Office from the list of county departments.