Grayson County Commissioners officially lowered the tax rate for the new fiscal year Tuesday.

The county’s tax rate for the new fiscal year is 44.18 cents per $100 valuation, which is a decrease from last year’s rate of 46.03 cents per $100 valuation. The commissioners also approved the fiscal year 2019 budget during their meeting Tuesday morning.

Grayson County Judge Bill Magers thanked the commissioners for their work on the budget.

“When you read the high points of this budget you will see a lot of thoughtful and conservative fiscal value without being over the top,” Magers said.

He said the general fund in the 2019 budget is up from $42.7 million to $43.3 million or a 1.4 percent increase. Magers said the budget includes 15 full time employees being added to the Grayson County Jail. He said those new hires were needed because the Texas Jail Commission discounted a number of the staff who were in the jail who worked at stations watching video from the ratio of staff to inmates.

“We had to replace some contractors with some full-time employees,” Magers said.

Magers said state decisions such as the one about the jailers is an example of state leaders calling for changes but not providing the money to pay for those changes. He said that is a trend that he sees continuing in the new fiscal year.

The budget also includes a 3 percent salary adjustment for county employees and Magers said that number was selected because it mirrors what the cities of Sherman and Denison gave to their employees.

While the 2019 budget does not include the major capital improvements that have been included in recent budgets, Magers said it did include the addition of $120,000 for each of the four county commissioners’ precincts for their road and bridge budgets.

“Those are dollars being put to direct use in the county,” Magers said of the increase in the road and bridge budgets.

The budget, he said, also includes payments for debt service for the $10 million in bonds the county intends to issue this year for major road projects, including a stretch of U.S. Highway 75 from FM 1417 to State Highway 91 known as the gap and the Highway 75/Highway 82 interchange, as well as the Spur 503 exchange in Denison. Magers said he expects the county to pay less than 3 percent for the bonds. The county will put $10 million into the projects, the Sherman-Denison Metropolitan Planning Organization will put in $28 million and the Texas Department of Transportation will put in $123 million.