County budget workshop Monday

Published 8:13 pm Saturday, July 14, 2018

Jefferson County will begin its budget workshop for Fiscal Year 2019 on  Monday. The departments’ presentations to commissioners will begin Monday and continue through Friday on the fourth floor of the Jefferson County Courthouse.

Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick said that the estimated budget is going to be increased by $5 million from last year’s budget.

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“As of right now, that is going to be difficult to do,” Branick said. “The county gets the majority of its money from property taxes and as of Jan. 1, more than 25 percent of the homes in the county were still damaged by Tropical Storm Harvey.”

Branick said a reduction in property taxes could lead to less money for the county budget.

“There is an increase in sales tax that might be able to make up for the loss in the property tax,” Branick said. “People went out and bought a lot from Lowe’s and Home Depot after the storm. We just don’t know if the increase in sales tax will be enough to offset the property tax drop, yet.”

The presentations are the first step in the budget process, Branick said.

“We’ll hear the presentations next week and be there,” he said. “Then we will have to calculate our effective tax rate and make some changes as needed.”

Branick said that the commissioners could have as many as two public hearings on the budget if necessary.

The final budget must be approved by Sept. 30.

The budget workshop will begin at 9:30 and break for lunch at noon. Commissioners Court will begin at its regularly scheduled time of 1:30, and the budget workshop is scheduled to pick back up at 2 p.m.