Judge submits preliminary budget
Jack County Judge Keith Umphress submitted a preliminary 2022-23 budget Friday, July 29.
The month of August will be spent tweaking that budget which needs to be approved at some point before the end of the month. It then takes effect Oct. 1.
Certified property values increased with mineral values continuing to recover for an overall 8.81% increase in the total valuation.
Umphress included a 3% cost of living increase for all employees and the county will be picking up health insurance increases for employees as well. Umpires said the increase was due to COVID-19 related issues.
One of the major increases, that had no bearing on the tax rate, was giving Jack County Sheriff’s Department employees a $10,000 raise. The increase was due to cuts within their current budget to the tune of two jailer/deputy positions along with a conversion to patrol vehicle leasing. Those cuts allowed for the pay increase.
“Our goal is to retain and recruit the very best employees available,” Umphress stated. “When employees feel appreciated in the workplace, their job performance improves.”
This year’s proposed tax rate is $0.5121 per $100 valuation ($0.4046 for the general fund and $0.1075 for the road and bridge fund). The proposed rate is down $0.032 from the present rate of $0.54378 cents, which falls just below the voter approval tax rate of $0.512155.
The budget will raise more total property taxes than last year by $220,940.56, or just under 3.5%. Of that amount, $14,453.08 is from new property value added to the tax roll this year.
“Our community is stretched too thin right now,” Umphress stated. “(It’s) time to conserved do a more efficient delivery of services.”
In a letter as part of the 135-page budget, Umphress said part of the reason behind the property value increase is the demand for rural property coming out of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex has caused a substantial increase in market value or cost per acre. Jack County Commissioners have approved several new subdivisions in 2022 and anticipate home construction to increase substantially next year.
On the downside of that, the increased demand for groundwater now has county officials wondering what to do next.
A public hearing on the tax rate will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, Aug. 22.