Smith County budget to be adopted Tuesday


Smith County Commissioners will approve next year's fiscal budget on Tuesday.

The budget will go into effect Oct. 1.

The Commissioners Court will hear public comments on the tax rate and budget prior to its adoption at 9:30 a.m. in the Smith County Courthouse Annex, 200 E. Ferguson St. The meeting is open to the public.

Smith County is proposing the same tax rate as this year at 33 cents per $100 property valuation, which will be a tax increase for most homeowners due to increasing property values.

The rate is above the effective rate of 32.6915 cents per $100 property valuation. The effective rate is the tax rate the county would have to charge to receive the same amount of money as the previous year. Charging residents more than that rate is considered a tax increase.

The average Smith County home value increased 4.9 percent, or $7,386, for 2017 - from $150,802 in 2016 to $158,188 next fiscal year, according to information provided by the Smith County Appraisal District.

The homeowner of the average-valued home will pay $24.37 more in county taxes next year, from $497.65 in 2016 to $522.02 in 2017.

Just more than 3 cents of the county's tax rate is dedicated to its debt - from the expansion of the Smith County Jail. The homeowner of the average-valued home will pay $51.68 next year toward that.

The county will pay $4.3 million in combined principal and interest on that note, and will owe $22.1 million at the end of 2017. That note is on track to be paid off in 2022.

The budget itself includes a one-time influx of $4 million into road and bridge for special projects, but there's also increases in line items for road materials that county crews use to repair roads.

The department is also getting an added mechanic and a new crew of six that will work specifically on clearing ditches.

The sheriff is also getting two new employees. He's also receiving 12 vehicles for the sheriff's office and several for the jail.

Several county employees will also be getting raises this year in the second year of a three-year plan to bring the county's salaries up to compete within the market.

Those raises include several public officials.

A related salary plan is also scheduled for court approval.

In other business:

The county will hold a public hearing on a temporary partial road closure of County Road 4118 for the construction of the Toll 49 Lindale Relief Route extension.

Commissioners will consider approving two grants to help rural water supplies with projects. Those include the Wright City Water Supply Corp. and the Lindale Rural Water Supply Corp.

A memorandum of understanding between the Smith County Sheriff's Office and the Andrews Center for Crisis Intervention is up for consideration.

A dehumidifier for the Smith County Elections Office will be evaluated.

The purchasing director is seeking approval to advertise bids for the inmate phone system and services, and for real estate broker services for the county.

Information technology may get approval to make modifications to its office space. The renovations include the addition of a permanent wall, door and flooring replacement.

The Tyler Morning Telegraph will attend the meeting. For updates as they happen, follow @TMTFaith on Twitter.



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Faith Harper is an East Texas native working for her hometown newspaper. She specializes in digital content for the Tyler Morning Telegraph. In her spare time, she loves tacos, road trips and is currently learning to sail.