Burnet County commissioners unanimously adopted the same tax rate of 39.99 cents per $100 assessed valuation for the upcoming fiscal year and approved a fiscal year 2020-21 proposed budget that calls for $43.66 million in overall revenues against overall expenses (general fund plus debt service plus road and bridge) of $31.28 million.
A large increase in new construction in Burnet County, coupled with increases in the values of existing properties, will allow the county to give all county employees a two percent raise and still end the year with an $18.37 million fund balance on hand in case of emergencies, according to the budget adopted Tuesday, Aug. 25.
The county was also able to absorb the cost of and continue two positions at the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office that could have been discontinued due to the loss of grant funding.
The new budget is expected to raise nearly $1.12 million in property taxes for the upcoming fiscal year, or an increase of about 4.3 percent. Of that amount, $919,909 is tax revenue raises from new property added to the tax roll this year, thanks to $229 million in new construction during the past year. Only $197,226 is coming from increased valuations on existing property.
The budget is based on the county adopting the same tax rate of 39.99 cents it had in fiscal year 2020, which includes 31.14 cents for general fund, 4.17 cents for road & bridge fund and 4.68 cents for debt service.
“This proposed budget and tax rate has a uniqueness to it that I have never experienced,” Burnet County Judge James Oakley previously told The Highlander. “Our record new valuations aka new construction, combined with properties that became newly subjected to the ‘over-65 freeze,’ outpaced the total of valuation increases.
“This scenario reflects the fast-paced growth we are experiencing as well as the ‘seasoning’ of our population that became eligible and applied this year for the over-65 freeze, which is really a shift to those properties not eligible.”
The proposed budget includes a nearly $24.03 million general fund budget, a $3.66 million road and bridge fund budget and a $3.2 million debt service budget.
The county is budgeting a transfer from the general fund to jail operations to help pay for expenses due to a projected decrease in inmate housing revenue from other jurisdictions. The budget also includes a transfer to pay for indigent health care and library costs, which were impacted by COVID-19.
The county budget is posted online at burnetcountytexas.org.