The Williamson County Commissioners Court unanimously adopted a $393.8 million budget for fiscal year 2019-20 on Aug. 27.
The budget is broken down into $221.05 million for the general fund, $45.05 million for road and bridge fund, and $127.7 million for the debt service fund.
The budget is an increase from the recommended budget of $390.29 million. The FY 2018-19 adopted budget was $364.5 million.
The commissioners also adopted a lower tax rate of $0.458719 per $100 valuation.
The effective rate was $0.444477. The tax rate for FY 2018-19 was $0.45929.
Williamson County commissioners decided to adopt a tax rate that would be in compliant with Senate Bill 2, a 3.5% tax rate trigger point that would require voter approval if taxing entities wished to collect more than 3.5% of tax revenue over the previous year.
County Judge Bill Gravell said by adopting a rate in compliance a year early, the county would learn to live within its new means.
The rate is broken down into a maintenance and operations rate of $0.251529, a debt service rate of $0.16719 and a road and bridge rate of $0.04. The general fund rate and the road and bridge rate remained the same as last year. The debt service rate was reduced $0.00031.
While the tax rate decreased, property owners may pay more in taxes as property values increase.
The average homeowner will pay approximately an additional $45 in taxes with the new tax rate. Home taxable values increased by 3.64%, according to Williamson County Tax Assessor/Collector data.
However, Gravell said the additional money will go toward 15 new public safety employees, staff for the new River Ranch Park expected to open spring 2020, seven new employees in technical services, six paramedics and a new investigator in the district attorney’s office, among other additions.
The county will also pay down $41 million in debt so as not have to have pay for additional interest.
“There are a lot of people who care about our budget and what we do in our county,” Gravell said. “Not everyone is happy with the budget they received, but [the budget office] presented a budget that [the commissioners] made a final decision on.”