Hays County Judge Recommends Dissolving Full Department, Rise In Property Taxes In 2020 Budget

Hays County Judge Recommends Dissolving Full Department, Rise In Property Taxes In 2020 Budget

This article has been corrected. 

By, Terra Rivers, Managing Editor

Last week, the Hays County Judge released his recommended budget for the Fiscal Year 2020, which includes at least five personnel changes and a proposed tax rate.

On Tuesday, Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra gave commissioners a brief presentation highlighting a few items from his recommended budget.

Becerra has proposed forgoing the effective tax rate, listed as 40.51 cents, and retaining the county’s FY 2019 tax rate of 43.37 cents. 

Every year, taxing entities have the opportunity to lower the tax rate to an “effective tax rate,” which accounts for the rise in property values experienced by home and business owners and the increase in the tax base.

The effective tax rate adjusts the tax rate, so taxpayers are paying the same amount or lower in property taxes while retaining the county’s tax revenue from the year before.

Becerra noted during last week’s meeting that while the tax rate “stays the same,” residents would see an increase in taxes due to the rise in their home’s property value.

According to the budget documentation, the average home value in Hays County for FY 2020 is projected to be $264,651 compared to last year’s average of $238,787. Under the current tax rate of 43.37 cents, the average Hays County homeowner will be paying $1,126.11 this year compared to last year’s $1,035.62. (See Budget Document #2, Itemized Tax Rate). 

The Hays County Appraisal district estimates that $948,384,860 has been added to the tax roll in new improvements, which adds almost $1 billion more taxable property than last year.   

Among the recommended items are the removal of five positions under the County-Wide Operations (CWO) department and the transfer of four others.

According to the personnel requests of the Judge’s Recommended Budget, Becerra is suggesting dissolving the County-Wide Operations Department and moving specific positions to other departments. (See Budget Document #7, Personnel Requests) 

Becerra recommends the removal of the Director of Countywide Operations, criminal justice analyst, operations coordinator, one grant writer and admin assistant III positions; the Natural Resources Manager will be retitled to a coordinator and moved to Development and Community Services.

According to the recommended budget, the judge does not state what department(s) will take over the responsibilities for the dissolved County-Wide Operations department.

As recommended, the budget would also move one grant writer to the auditor’s office and the Budget and Operations Manager to Office of Emergency Services.

The recommended budget includes several other changes to county personnel and departments including items such as:

  • Moving Sheriff’s Office H/R Division to County H/R
  • Moving Sheriff’s Office Fleet Division to Office of Emergency Services
  • Moving Compliance from Treasurer’s Office to District Courts
  • *Correction: the justice of the peace offices requested a raise to $76,000; however, Judge Becerra did not recommend it. We apologize for the error and any confusion it might have caused.  
  • Regrading Chief of Staff and increasing salary by 54.7 percent to $88,423

In addition, several departments’ requests for regrading, increases and new positions were not recommended.

Commissioners will discuss the Judge’s Recommended Budget at the first of three budget workshops at 10 AM on Aug. 6, Aug. 14 and Aug. 20.

The public is invited and encouraged by the court to attend and provide feedback on the Judge’s Recommended Budget, which was made available online here on Friday.

The budget can be found broken down into nine documents under the Auditor’s Report – FY 2020 Budget Planning – Level 2 folder or below.

Hays County Judge’s Recommended Budget

1. Judge’s Recommended Budget Highlights

 

2. FY20 Itemized Tax Rate

 

3. FY20 Fund Balance Budget Recap 7-30-19

 

4. FY20 Debt Schedule

 

5. FY20 Estimated Revenues – Judge’s Recommended Budget

 

6. FY20 Expenditures – Judge’s Rec

 

7. FY20 Personnel Request – Judge’s Rec

 

8. FY20 Capital Equipment-Projects – Judge’s Rec

 

9. FY20 Capital Computers-Software – Judge’s Rec

 

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4 Comments

  1. awc

    may want to check again. judges budget does not call for raises for jp’s unless he has changed his recommendation since reveal date. awc

    Reply
  2. Jamie Moore-Elliott

    I see Judge Becerra has to be one of the most forward thinking individuals in Hays County. For me I greatly appreciate any effort to put a pencil and paper to our tax and or budget issues. That is instead of the eraser…

    Reply

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