SNYDER, Texas (KTAB) – Scurry County Commissioners have prepared a backup plan to balance the county budget in case taxes are lowered in a special election.
The Scurry County reserve funds have been depleting over the years, according to County Judge Dan Hicks. In fact, he says, “There was $0 in the reserves when I came into office last year.”
The 2020 budget was designed to get things back on track. When setting the budget, commissioners chose to keep the tax rate at $0.44980, which is the same as it was in 2019. That rate would generate more income than last year. The budget estimates that total at nearly $2.7 million.
“With the past catching up to us, we’ve needed to keep it right here”, said Judge Hicks, refering to the tax rate. “It’s basically a reset. If we don’t reset here, and we go back to the 32 cents, it’s going to put us in a real bind.”
People throughout Scurry County decided that the old rate was too high. They started a petition and garnered enough support to force a special election. That vote could reset the tax rate at the rollback rate, which is $0.34970.
County officials say the rollback rate would leave the budget short by $4.5 million. In preparation for the lower income, several cuts have been announced that will go into effect only if the rollback rate becomes the official tax rate.
Judge Hicks said, “We were going to do a 3% raise across the board. That has been taken out. There have been some budget requests for vehicles and equipment that had to be taken out. We’re also looking at some department cuts. We’re looking at having to completely eliminate departments.”
The raises and purchases account for just shy of $2 million. The other $2.5 million will come from the department eliminations.
“We just won’t have the funds to do it”, said Hicks. “We’ve got to come up with $4.5m and doing an across the board cut won’t touch that.”
The library, golf course, and youth center are some of the departments that are planned to be shut down to save money. If voters in Scurry County approve the rollback rate, it will likely result in shutdowns, but it will save taxpayers a collective $2.5 million on property taxes this year. The special election will be held January 28, with early voting starting January 13. Below is a list of the proposed cuts, as presented by Scurry County officials. Some items have been edited for clarity.
Budget requests, raises, reserves, etc.
County Clerk $163,169 voting machines
Non Departmental Reserves $1,000,000
Juvenile Prob-Capital $28,000
Supervision Payroll $80,530
Parks Capital $80,066
General Fund Payroll $222,068
R&B PCT 1-Capital $42,000
R&B PCT 4-Capital $35,000
R&B Payroll $31,216
Golf Course-Payroll $1525
Airport-Fuel Truck & Payroll $28,805
Trapper – All funding $38,000
Historical commission – All funding $3000
Museum – All funding $45,000
Golf Course – Entire department $324,660
Welfare – Entire department $151,646
-County judge will perform indigent funerals
Library – Entire department $475,787
Youth Center – Entire department $369,226
Extension – All funding $158,903
-Each precinct saves $72,172
Airport runway $100,000
-This is matching for future taxiway grants
Boot camp – One position $56,000
-This cut will still leave 2 employees in the parks department
The total saved on budget requests, raises, and reserves, and the additional cuts comes to $4,509,706. The budget is expected to be short by $4,458,789.
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