The Kaufman County Commissioners Court has approved the budget for fiscal year 2019-2020 which begins on Oct. 1 and its corresponding tax rates.

During last week’s meeting of the court, County Judge Hal Richards read off the now-confirmed tax rates for the upcoming fiscal year. County properties will be taxed at a rate of .537112 while the effective tax rate for the county is .514506. The rollback tax rate will be .57326, the effective MNO rate will be .420326 and the debt tax rate will be .064300.

“This budget will raise more property taxes than last year’s budget by $4,281,929,” Richards said. “That’s 8.06 percent. And of that amount, $2,563,971 is tax revenue from new property tax roll brought this year.”

The commissioners unanimously approved the budget and tax rates.

During the meeting, Pam Corder updated the court on some of the necessary expenses of the new budget including a significant increase in funding to the Human Society of Cedar Creek Lake for animal shelter services. Corder said that Kaufman County makes up about 80 percent of the society’s business and that they have picked up over 800 animals so far this year. The county will be increasing their funding from $99,204 last year to $147,228 in the upcoming year, a nearly 50 percent increase.

“I think that just highlights the need for us to focus in this upcoming year on a long-term solution for this county,” precinct 4 commissioner Ken Cates said.

Over the last several months, Richards has been updating the court on a process headed by Kaufman Assistant City Manager Mike Holder focused on establishing a regional animal shelter for the county.

“We’ve just kind of put it on the shelf for right now, but the idea would be working with some humane society-type organization and cities in the county that we might do some sort of joint animal shelter operation,” Richards said. “We’ll have more discussion about that coming up in the next few months.”

The commissioners also approved the local match funds agreement between North Texas Behavioral Health Authority and the county for $216,719.92 to go toward mental health services.

The commissioners approved a request from Fire Marshall Randy Richards to institute a county-wide burn ban for the 45 days following the Aug. 21 meeting. Marshall Richards cited the increasing prevalence of fires in the county as a result of the significant drought gripping the area following the lack of rain over the last two months.

“I’m sure that we’ll have some rain during this 45 days, but these quarter and half-inch rains three, four or five days apart have no significance.”

During the meeting, Dan Romo presented an update on delinquent court fines collections around the county. According to Romo, collections are up by six to seven percent from this time last year, and his office is planning a warrant roundup for next month to increase collections even further.

During the meeting, the commissioners also approved the Star Transit ridership reports for July, approved the commissioners court meeting minutes for Aug.6 and Aug. 7, approved a certificate of completion for Chuck Mohnkern for meeting the 2019 annual county investment academy education requirement, 2019-2020 public funds investment act education requirement, and 2019 County Treasurer’s Association for Texas Education requirement, approved the county clerk’s record archive funding plan, adopted the district court record archive plan, approved an order for “No Thru Trucks” signs to be placed on County Road 153 in precinct 1, approved the salaries, expenses and other allowances of all elected county and precinct officers, approved setting public hearing dates on the proposed tax rate for Sept. 9 and Sept. 13, approved the deputations of Hudnal Tisdale, Brett Tale, Justin Snow and Orlando Zuniga as deputy sheriffs for the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Department, approved the deputation of Candy Richeson as deputy constable for the precinct 2 constable’s office, accepted the bylaws for the Kaufman County Child Welfare Board, approved a contract with Texas Bit for the stabilization and asphalting for Falcon Road, Kelly Road and County Road 4098 in precinct 4 for $716,975.68, approved the treasurer’s monthly report for July, accepted the Tax Assessor-Collector’s monthly report for July, approved entering into an interlocal agreement with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles for provision of equipment and consumables, and approved line item transfers and claims for payment.

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