Tough choices remain for Victoria County budget
Aug. 4, 2014 at 6:06 p.m.
Updated Aug. 4, 2014 at 11:11 p.m.
With more than $1 million in wants, wishes and needs, tough choices remain for Victoria County commissioners who took their first peek at the budget Monday.
The budget outline, as presented by County Judge Don Pozzi, leaves about $156,000 for commissioners to address requests for 10 new employees and new equipment.
Commissioner Kevin Janak said there's "no wiggle room."
"Right now, it's a concern of mine what the judge is proposing, and we still have $1 million in wants, and the budget is balanced right now," Janak said. "I have to listen to the elected officials and what their needs are before we can comment."
Commissioners will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the courthouse to discuss each department's requests. Budget workshops are scheduled all day Wednesday and Thursday.
While no raises are proposed for 2015, Pozzi said employees will see a 3.9 percent "built-in raise."
The change will be noticeable on their income tax documents at the end of the year, not in biweekly paychecks, he said.
To fund the 27 pay periods, the judge turned to the increased revenue raised by property taxes.
Under the proposed tax rate, Victoria County property owners would pay about $1.3 million more, said County Auditor Judy McAdams.
Pozzi's $37.7 million budget was built on the same county tax rate as the past 11 years - 39.86 cents per $100 valuation.
The proposed budget does not include any new personnel.
Janak said he does not want to see the tax rate increased.
"There's a lot of people out there living on limited incomes, and their appraisals are compounding," he said. "Then again, Victoria is growing, and there's lots of pull on the sheriff's office."
Last year, law enforcement and the court system made up the bulk of the budget, Janak said.
Janak said the court's job is to balance the needs of all the county's departments.
"I do realize that property values have gone up, and we have received new tax money, but we still have another million in wants out there" he said. "We'll continue to work on this budget, and we'll come up with a balanced budget that will be best for all departments in Victoria County in the most conservative way that we can."