Williamson County’s plans for a potential November bond election won’t affect this year’s budgeting process, which is now starting.
However, an ongoing salary and compensation study could figure into the equation, with county officials potentially granting raises based on the outcome.
“We talked about some of the challenges we have,” Budget Officer Ashlie Blaylock said following a preliminary work session. “We’re looking at juvenile grants to be decreased – not cut entirely but maybe [cut] about 3 to 4 percent.”
Although the current fiscal year is literally only half over – with six months remaining – Blaylock has already laid out a schedule for fiscal 2013-14’s budget and tax rate adoption process.
Between April 18 and May 2, elected officials and department heads can submit their requests. After that, commissioners start hammering out the details, as they set priorities and crunch numbers during a series of summer workshops.
The budget and tax rate are scheduled for adoption on Aug. 27, with the new fiscal year starting Oct. 1.
For the current fiscal year, county government operates with a total budget of $216 million.
Of that, commissioners dedicated $129.3 million to the general fund, which covers day-to-day operating expenses such as salaries and benefits for the county’s approximately 1,600 employees.
For the current year, salaries and benefits account for about 63 percent of the general fund. Also included in that is raises the Commissioners Court approved last summer: $2.1 million for non-law enforcement personnel and $56,759 (3-percent raises) for the county’s 19 elected officials.
The current budget is funded by a tax rate of 48.9 cents per $100 assessed valuation. The “average” homeowner – one who has a home with a taxable value of $180,870 – paid $891 in county taxes for the current year.
As always, population growth will remain a driving factor in the budget process, county officials say.
The recently appointed bond task force is to make recommendations regarding big-ticket spending items – such as for road and park construction – and the commissioners could call for a November bond election.
However, none of that will impact the 2013-14 budget or tax rate.