County commissioners OK 2018 budget and tax rate

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Smith County Commissioners unanimously approved the 2018 county budget and tax rate during their regular weekly meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 29, publicity officials said.

County officials have been working all year on the fiscal year 2018 budget, which reflects the following priorities: road improvements; increased funding for law enforcement and jail operations; improved operational efficiency; continued improvement to facilities and technology; and hiring and retaining qualified employees who are providing the highest level of service to the citizens of Smith County.

No one spoke during the public hearing held before the commissioners voted on the tax rate and budget.

The Commissioners Court also adopted a tax rate of 33 cents per $100 valuation, which is the same as 2017.

Officials said by comparison, approximately 90 percent of Texas counties have a higher tax rate than Smith County.

“The hard work of the members of the Commissioners Court, County Auditor and department heads, and their dedication to the principles of the roadmap have resulted in a budget that keeps the tax rate at 33 cents, invests in Road and Bridge and IT Infrastructure and continues the trend of strategic planning,” County Judge Nathaniel Moran said.

The FY2018 budget continues to focus on county road infrastructure by dedicating an additional $3.5 million from the General Fund Reserve Balance for major road construction and improvement projects.

This is the fourth year the county has directed funds into the Road and Bridge program over and above what is already allocated to the Road and Bridge Department from the maintenance and operations portion of property taxes, traffic fees and fines.

The FY2018 Budget also focuses on employee investment to assist elected officials and department heads in their continued efforts to attract and retain qualified and contributing employees.

The county has for the third consecutive year taken steps to bring salaries in line with those of similar-sized counties and private sector comparisons through adjustments made to the salary scale and incorporated into the budget.

The FY2018 Budget also adds two new positions, a Fleet Manager, to oversee and manage the county’s vehicles; as well as a Budget Analyst, to assist in streamlining departmental operations and being more efficient with tax dollars.

Additionally, new positions have been added to various departments to enhance public safety efforts and county services.

To view the FY2018 Budget, visit: www.smith-county.com, scroll down to County Business-Planning & Finances and click the link for more information under Smith Country Budgets and Financial Reports.

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