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Commissioners OK $21M budget
Frio County is expected to generate nearly $2 million more in revenue than last year’s budget despite keeping its tax rate at the same level as 2019.
In a unanimous 5-0 vote of all commissioners on September 14, the tax rate of 0.5968 per $100 of assessed value was kept at the 2019 rate although valuations increased. Commissioners also approved a budget of nearly $21 million for the 2020-21 fiscal year.
The budget is expected to raise more revenue from property taxes than last year’s budget by $1,935,026, which is a 17.60268 percent increase over last year’s budget. The total budget was set at $20,986,290 with $14,633,424 in the General Fund, $3,554,829 in the Road & Bridge Fund and $2,798,037 in the Lateral Road Fund.
Property tax revenue from new property added to the tax roll this year is anticipated to be $192,267.
In other business at the meeting, commissioners approved a resolution requiring that an incumbent county officer that was not renominated and or re-elected to county office, receive prior approval from the court for any expenditure that will result in that officer spending more than a fourth of their budget in the budget year of their final time in office.
The court rejected a sealed bid for the hauling of roadway materials in order to re-advertise for additional bids.
Commissioner Jose Asuncion also provided an update on the county’s use of federal Coronavirus Relief Funding. Asuncion said the county has $141,000 in federal funds available to use in what he described as ‘narrow categories’.
The CARES Act provides that payments from the fund may only be used to cover costs that are necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to COVID-19; were not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27, 2020 and were incurred during the period that begins on March 1 and ends on December 30.
The Department of the Treasury released an eight-page document offering its interpretations of the limitations
on the permissible use of fund payments on its website.
“We can order more PPE (personal protective equipment),” he said. “We’re hoping there is no second wave but we do want to be prepared in case there is.”
The commissioner noted that the county can use the $141,000 in federal relief funding to purchase a vehicle for delivery of the PPE to local citizens.
“I’ve been using my personal vehicle to make the deliveries and it was sufficient at first,” he said. “Deliveries were slow initially but peaked at about 37 per day and are now at about 20.”
Asuncion said that a truck or SUV would be ideal for deliveries but said that a pickup truck would prove to be more versatile for county use later on.
Even with making a vehicle purchase, Asuncion said that the county will still have upwards of $75,000 to spend on coronavirus relief.