Kerr County Commissioners Court
Only a few were able to make the Court Hearing yesterday… SILENCE IS APPROVAL… If you haven’t yet, contact your commissioner with the link at the bottom of this post.
The agenda for yesterday is linked below. The budget hearing items were items 1.8 through 1.24
Comments were shared at yesterday’s hearing… see those from the 39:00 minute mark through the 1:30:00 recess mark.
The Kerr County Commissioners are proposing significant property tax hikes to give EVERY county employee ANOTHER pay raise. This is AFTER we all received EYE-POPPING appraisal increases to our home values (which already translates into a higher tax bill for everyone). In order to pay the same in taxes as last year, commissioners would have to lower the tax rate in order to account for increased appraised home values.
While the Sheriff’s deputies have experienced a crisis of keeping a full crew (they’re losing deputies to higher paying surrounding counties) despite receiving a pay bump last year (taken from federal ARPA funds), that was not a permanent source of funding for salaries. The proposed budget would give them a much needed 25% pay increase.
In addition, County Road & Bridge is proposed to get a 15% salary bump (due to losing many employees to TxDOT who pays more), and remaining county employees would get another 5% jump in addition to the 5% raise they got last year.
Has YOUR salary gone up 10% in the last two years?
Are YOUR expenses going down?
Can YOU continue to take it on the chin so government can grow bigger?
While those over 65 have their property tax RATE frozen, they still experience tax hikes through higher appraisals and tax increases by other taxing entities (like the 20% jump by city of Kerrville). Young families and working class residents will be hit the hardest and cannot continue to handle this crushing tax burden coming from all sides. Just look at Austin who cannot keep its young workers due to high housing costs and the exploding cost of living. High mortgage interest rates (thank you Joe Biden) just encourages more out of state cash buyers to come buy up all available housing for short term rentals, further deepening the problems for young families’ ability to find affordable starter homes, and further separating our communities from cohesive neighborhoods.
Remember that this is FORCIBLE taxation to give government employees an across the board pay raise at the expense of county residents. That’s a whole lot different than a private employer giving an employee a pay raise or bonus based on merit or quality of workon an individual basis. If you work for the county, just show up to work and you get a 10% increase over two years, regardless of your position, performance, or quality of work.
GET BACK TO BASICS
There are two core functions of government:
public safety and roads.
The county budget is $8.5 million short of revenues. So in addition to the millions in NEW property tax revenue due to the proposed tax rate hikes and appraisal increases, they’re “stealing from Peter to pay Paul” all over the place to fill that funding gap (according to the county auditor Tanya Shelton, the county will tap excess funds they have in the bank, ARPA funds, tax anticipation bonds, and grant funding).
This is UNSUSTAINABLE!
You can’t pay your employees over the long-run using temporary, one-time grants or emergency funds. They also can’t count on continual annual exploding appraisals to bail them out.
Texans can’t afford that much government!
We can understand trying to retain and attract these necessary sheriff’s deputies, jailers and road and bridge employees.
Everyone else is subject to cuts, just like our personal family budgetshave experienced deep cuts. We’re in an economic downturn (many already believe we’re in a true recession, but nearly all credible economists agree we will be by the end of this year if we’re not already), cumulative inflation is well over 8%, gas prices, housing prices, the tax burden and food prices continue to rise far faster than people’s incomes — with no end in sight.
If a county employee can’t make it on their county government salary, get a different job. We as taxpayers aren’t obligated to put our own families at risk to grow government salaries (especially during this economic crisis).
Enough is enough and something’s got to give and shouldn’t be county taxpayers and their families. We’re already hurting and making sacrifices.
So how do we pay for the sheriff and road & bridge pay raises?
If you don’t raise taxes, then the only other way to pay for it is by cutting the existing budget — not growing it arbitrarily countywide, across the board.
This will take precision; this will take digging into details; this requires WORK by our county commissioners to make the necessary cuts (and perhaps delay issuing bonds for the pet shelter), until we balance the budget with a NO NEW REVENUE budget.
Tarrant County is giving a significant tax break to county residents. Kerrville ISD is giving an 18% tax break and still raising employee salaries. Kerr County isn’t capable of the same? County tax revenues have gone up, even during COVID.
Time for them to trim the status quo and start seriously examining every county department, the number of employees, and operating costs, and start slashing like we’ve all had to.
Commissioners need the PUBLIC FEEDBACK
on this proposed budget.
SILENCE IS APPROVAL, so share your thoughts
with your commissioner!