Lamar County Commissioners move ahead with 2020-21 budget

Lamar County residents will soon be able to see the final, revised edition of the county’s multimillion dollar budget for the coming year after the Lamar County Commissioners approved it at a hearing Monday.

Along with the rest of the budget, the commissioners put the last stamp of approval on a property tax rate of 38.39 cents per $100 valuation, as well as an increase in the salaries of the administrative assistant to the commissioners court, the third and fourth assistant attorneys, the second assistant network administrator, part time help for the road and bridge crew and the maintenance crew in Precinct 3, the Criminal Investigation Division captain in the sheriff’s department and the detention lieutenant at the county jail.

The court also added money to the vehicle maintenance budget for the sheriff’s department and budgeted money for a new security desk and repairs at the courthouse.

After discussing the need for maintenance at the courthouse and other county properties including the jail at their previous meeting, the Capital Projects Fund, which allocates funding for such projects, was approved at $1,000,000.

Although property values have increased and new properties have been added to the tax rolls, revenue from property taxes is expected to be down 1.3% as a result of the new tax rate, which is the highest the county could go without taking it to residents for a vote. According to County Auditor Kayla Hall, the county was able to lower the rate as it paid off a hefty amount of their debt obligation last year.

The final fund balance, the equivalent of a savings account, is estimated to be $9,903,188, with a total budget of $37,858,993 and expected spending of $26,911,899.

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