Budget process to separate needs vs. wants

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

Aug. 6, 2012 at 3:06 a.m.
Updated Aug. 7, 2012 at 3:07 a.m.

Victoria County Commissioners will take their first look at the proposed 2012-13 budget Tuesday morning.

The workshop meeting marks the start of a two-week process of deciding what gets funded and what doesn't. The meeting starts at 9 a.m. at the county courthouse, 115 N. Bridge St.

Because sales tax and general property taxes are estimated to increase over the current budget's figures, commissioners will have a little extra to work with. The proposed budget plans for total revenues of $32.8 million. The current budget was planned for $32.2 million in revenues, but year-to-date figures, as of June 30, are at $25.97 million.

County Judge Don Pozzi said the budget he will present is built on a tax rate of 39.86 cents per $100 of assessed taxable valuation, the same tax rate the county has maintained since 2004.

The increased revenue - $8 million in sales tax and $17.2 million in property tax - gives the county an opportunity to bring departments and personnel closer to pre-recession funding.

"2008, 2009 and 2010 were tough budget years because of the economy," said Pozzi, the county's chief financial officer.

At least 12 departments requested additional personnel and or salary increases, he said.

The proposed budget plans to spend $31.6 million, which would leave $1.2 million in revenue unallocated.

The meeting will begin with commissioners receiving and opening bids for renovations to the City-County Health Department, before moving to the budget.

The meeting also includes a closed session to discuss personnel, security, real property and a consultation with the county attorney.

Pozzi said the county's top priority is addressing courtroom space issues. The courthouse has eight judges and only five courtrooms, he said.

Part of the budget workshop discussion is whether to build a county courts at law building.

He also wants to look at adding an indigent representation coordinator as a way to cut costs.



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