Commissioners to discuss racial profiling report

Victoria County Commissioners Court

Victoria County Commissioner Kevin Janak is looking to all Victoria County departments to gather information about work that is left undone but was possibly paid for after Hurricane Harvey.

Janak said during the commissioners court meeting Monday that his work group, which has been fact-checking information and reviewing work performed on county buildings for months, is “wrapping up their work.” Last week, he said a visit from a representative of the Virtus Group – the company at the center of a controversy about whether the county spent Harvey recovery money in taxpayers’ best interests – will “finish the piece of the puzzle.”

Another step, Janak said Monday, is to email all county department heads and ask for their input about any work that has not been done.

“I think that we need to have all buy-in from all departments on this to see exactly; we don’t want to miss anything on this,” he said.

Janak said the input will help make sure the work group covers all of their bases and doesn’t miss anything. He said he will give the department heads until Friday to reply.

Also Monday, commissioners approved a $59.16 million budget and kept the property tax rate unchanged for 2020.

Commissioners unanimously approved both the budget and the property tax rate after weeks of discussion about the county’s financial plans for the 2020 fiscal year, which begins Jan. 1.

County Judge Ben Zeller applauded the court for its efforts preparing the budget.

“I think that, again, this will be a budget that the community can be proud of,” he said. “It really does demonstrate (the) commissioners court’s support for public safety in our community.”

The budget will increase spending by more than $3 million, up from $55.87 million budgeted in expenditures in the current 2019 budget. The tax rate for property in Victoria County will remain at 39.59 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, the same rate it has been since 2016.

Zeller said the court prioritized county employees in this budget, specifically licensed peace officers. In the new budget, all Victoria County Sheriff’s Office licensed peace officers will receive a $2-per-hour raise.

Morgan Theophil covers local government for the Victoria Advocate. She can be reached at 361-580-6511, or on Twitter.

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