Grayson County’s taxpayers can expect to see a lower county tax rate in the fiscal year ahead after the Grayson County Commissioners Court unanimously adopted a 45.8 cent tax rate at the group’s weekly meeting Tuesday.
With Place 3 Commissioner Phyllis James away on vacation, commissioners Jeff Whitmire, David Whitlock and Bart Lawrence voted 3-0 to adopt the precise tax rate of 45.8026 cents per $100 valuation. Grayson County Judge Bill Magers said the new rate, which will take effect Oct. 1, is lower than those imposed during the previous two years, but will put just as much money in the budget thanks to growing property values throughout the county.
“We are funding operations with new growth,” Magers said. “The same dollars we used last year to fund our operations are being used this year. It’s between a 3 and 3.5 percent tax rate decrease over last year, almost 7 percent over two years.”
Magers said while attention is often focused on the Grayson Central Appraisal District’s certified property values in relation to the tax rate, the county’s growth is visible and beneficial in many other ways.
“You’re seeing it across the board,” Magers said of the growth. “You’re seeing it in schools and bond elections. You’re seeing it in the number of building permits increasing. You’re seeing it in the south county with the largest subdivision growth in Van Alstyne and Gunter and you’re seeing it in you’re appraisals.”
Magers said the tax rate, in conjunction with the county’s growth, will fund a similar budget as was adopted last year. The county judge said the 2017-2018 budget will allow for infrastructure investments, some county employee salary raises and even the hiring of six new corrections officers at the Grayson County Jail. Magers said he felt confident in the budget, which remains fluid until later this month, and that it would have additional benefits.
“One of the reasons I’m so proud of it is that a) we were able to reduce the tax rate; and b) we have zero increase in health care costs to both the taxpayer and the county employee,” Magers said. “And we were able to increase our fire and ambulance (budget) by 2 percent as well. So, I think it’s a very balanced budget.”
Magers said while setting the annual tax rate and forming a budget may not be the most thrilling duties of the commissioners, doing so remains a core function of the group and it has major implications for those who call Grayson County home.
“It’s mundane government stuff, but it’s so important to the average working person,” Magers said.