Victoria County considers $32.8 million operating budget
Aug. 7, 2012 at 3:07 a.m.
Updated Aug. 8, 2012 at 3:08 a.m.
• Increased hourly court interpreter fees from $40 hourly and $60 after-hours to $60 and $75 after-hours
• Replace sheriff's office, adult probation and district attorney's phone systems for about $76,000 out of the current budget
• Purchase 130 pagers for volunteer fire departments for about $50,000 out of the current budget
• Build in a new line item in the general fund for countywide recycling for $15,000.
Personnel benefits totaling more than $1 million for Victoria County employees are slowly returning to the budget after recession-era cuts.
County Commissioners deliberated for six hours Tuesday in the first day of its budget workshops, deciding how to allocate the county's proposed $32.8 million general fund budget. That proposed budget is up from a $32.2 million budget this current fiscal year.
Commissioner Clint Ives said raising employees' mandatory retirement contribution was the court's greatest accomplishment Tuesday.
"It's important to their future," Ives said. "They don't view it as 'out of pocket' because they're contributing to themselves."
Under the proposed budget, employees now will have to contribute 6 percent of their wages, instead of 5 percent, to the Texas County and District Retirement System.
Because the county matches contributions by 200 percent, the hike in contributions will cost the county about $357,000, said County Auditor Judy McAdams.
Ives said many employees want to see the contribution requirement raised to 7 percent.
County Judge Don Pozzi presented the budget Tuesday at an actual tax rate of 39.86 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, the same tax rate the county has maintained since 2004.
The effective rate was calculated at 37.06 cents and the rollback rate at 41.07 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.
Pozzi said personnel is the largest portion of the budget, and additional requests this year exceed $1 million, he said.
He built a 3 percent cost-of-living increase in the budget, which will cost about $540,000 from the general fund, not including benefits.
"Anything is subject to change up until the very time we adopt this budget," Pozzi said.
Commissioners will continue discussions about longevity pay, which could cost between $218,840 and $364,733, depending whether they support a $3, $4 or $5 monthly incentive. In 2012, the incentive was paid $3 monthly, and by the end of the year, cost $198,528.