Williamson County commissioners add $6.6 million to already growing fiscal year 2018-19 budget

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The Williamson County Commissioners Court held its second budget voting session Tuesday, boosting the fiscal year 2018-19 general fund budget an additional $6.62 million.

On Aug. 7, the county budget office recommended a general fund budget of $185,246,571. During the first budget voting session Aug. 16, the court added $1.6 million to include new positions and change current positions from part time to full time. During its second budget voting session, the Commissioners Court approved $6.62 million for new positions and voting machines, among other expenses.

The county’s budget currently totals $193,531,478.56 with the additions, but the final budget has not been approved and the Commissioners Court has yet to vote on capital and long-term transportation plan budgets.

The Commissioners Court could approve lower budgets on those two line items to bring the budget back down to the recommended budget or decide to use cash ending account—an account that holds money saved from unpaid vacant positions—to offset the budget. The cash ending account has grown a predicted $3 million this year, County Budget Officer Ashlie Koenig said.

Koenig said nothing is concrete until the Commissioners Court votes on a final budget.

County Judge Dan Gattis said he would also like to add funding for new position hires to be paid 15 percent above the job pay grade if needed. This would add about $210,000 to the budget.

“The most important thing we have going on in this county is the people we have working for it,” Gattis said. “We’re having a hard time hiring in the quality people we need.”

The Commissioners Court will vote on the budget Aug. 28 at 10 a.m. in the Williamson County Courthouse, 710 S. Main St., Georgetown.

In the combined two budget voting sessions, the Commissioners Court:

  • Upgraded the administration specialist position from part time to full time in veteran services: $27,083.55 (budget session 1)
  • Increased the janitorial contract: $500,000 (budget session1)
  • Approved a nondepartmental increase for county lawsuits: $100,000 (budget session1)
  • Added an emergency services dispatch: $730,000 (budget session1)
  • Added a programming specialist in wireless communications: $80,431 (budget session1)
  • Added a system support specialist in Information Technology: $68,297.01 (budget session1)
  • Upgraded the position of deputy district clerk II from part time to full time: $37,714.02 (budget session1)
  • EMS/Round Rock Bay: $120,000 (budget session1)
  • Moved the funding for two MOT FTEs from the Tabaco Fund: $149,899.68 (budget session 2)
  • Approved new voting machines: $4.5 million (budget session 2)
  • Added eight sheriff’s office patrol deputies: $1,345,259.28 (budget session 2)
  • Added two Student Resource Officers for Round Rock ISD through the sheriff’s office: $359,417.36 (budget session 2)
  • Environmental sanitation: $64,149.73 (budget session 2)
  • Added a lead victim assistance coordinator for the District Attorney’s Office: $71,704 (budget session 2)
  • Added a child abuse intake assistance coordinator for the District Attorney’s Office: $130,950.94 (budget session 2)

Tax rate

The court has yet to set a final tax rate but did set a proposed maximum tax rate of $0.466529 per $100 valuation on July 31. The final tax rate cannot go above the proposed rate.

County Judge Dan Gattis said he is looking set a lower tax rate of at least 1 cent or more below the proposed tax rate. Precinct 3 Commissioner Valerie Covey said her goal was to lower the tax rate by a half-cent. Other commissioners have said they are looking to lower the tax rate as well but did not specify an amount.

A second public hearing on the proposed tax rate was held during Tuesday’s meeting. The court will vote on the final tax rate on Aug. 28 at 10 a.m. in the Williamson County Courthouse, 710 S. Main St., Georgetown.

Road and bridge budget

The court also voted to add $4 million for the long-term transportation plan to the road and bridge budget. The money can be used for engineering, design and construction.

The county budget office recommended a budget of $36,726,934.52. The total is now about $4.1 million.

The court will bring a motion back on Tuesday on whether to add a planner II position for road and bridge which will add $85,409.32 to the budget.

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Ali Linan
Ali Linan began covering Georgetown for Community Impact Newspaper in 2018. Her reporting focuses on education and Williamson County. Ali hails from El Paso and graduated from Syracuse University in 2017.
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