During an Aug. 4 meeting, Williamson County Commissioners Court accepted the budget office’s recommendation of $390.37 million for its fiscal year 2020-21 budget.

At the meeting, the Williamson County Budget Office recommended a general fund budget of $218.94 million, a road and bridge fund budget of $44.58 million and a debt service fund budget of $126.85 million.

The total recommended budget for FY 2020-21—about $390.37 million—is a decrease of $3.43 million from the previous year’s budget, which was adopted at $393.8 million.

The general fund recommendation of $218.94 million is a decrease of about $2.11 million, or about 1%, from the adopted FY 2019-20 budget. The road and bridge fund recommendation is a decrease of about $0.47 million, or 1.04%, from the adopted FY 2019-20 budget.

The debt service fund will also see a decrease of about $0.89 million, or about 0.69%. This include a $25 million debt defeasance, where the county plans to pay down $25 million in debt, officials said.

“I think that it is crucial that we continue this program and that we’re able to do that to keep our rate stable and to be able to show that we are trying to pay off as much debt as possible,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Valerie Covey said.

For FY 2020-21, commissioners stated they would not be approving any additional compensation raises beyond what was previously scheduled for law enforcement and corrections, nor would they add any new positions as they continue to navigate through the coronavirus pandemic.

Overall, Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell said call the proposed budget “a good budget in a tough time.”

“You're proposing a general budget that reflects about a $2 million decrease year over year, you’re proposing a road and bridge budget that is about a half a million dollar decrease this year, and we are still able to add $25 million to decrease our debt, and we are able to do all of that in the middle of a pandemic,” Gravell said.

The court also voted to set a maximum total tax rate of $0.458719 per $100 valuation, which is the current tax rate.

Williamson County Tax Assessor-Collector Larry Gaddes said the no-new-revenue rate, previously known as the effective tax rate, is $0.452104 per $100 valuation, which would produce the same amount of revenue if applied to the same properties that are taxed in both years.

He also stated the voter approval rate, previously known as the rollback rate, would be $0.461521 per $100 valuation, which is the rate that, if exceeded, allows the public to petition for a rollback election.

The Williamson Central Appraisal District will also launch a comprehensive tax rate website this week. The website, www.williamsonpropertytaxes.org, will shows the tax rate implications to a specific property from all taxing entities for that property.

The budget and tax rate are not finalized and may change following a public hearing and two budget modification voting sessions. A public hearing will be held Aug. 25 at 10:15 a.m. at 710 S. Main St., Georgetown.

Commissioners will vote to adopt the budget Aug. 25, and FY 2020-21 begins Oct. 1.

“That is what makes Williamson County work—that department heads and elected officials can work together in difficult times ... and still provide the services that protect our community,” Gravell said.