EDITOR DANIEL CLIFTON
The Burnet County Commissioners Court approved a slightly higher tax rate during the September 10 meeting.
Commissioners unanimously adopted a tax rate for fiscal year 2020 of 39.99 cents per $100 valuation. This is just under a penny higher than the 2019 fiscal year rate of 39 cents.
The newly approved rate breaks down to 31.07 cents for general fund, 4.17 cents for road and bridge fund, and 4.75 cents for debt service.
The 2019-20 fiscal year budget will generate about $2 million more than the previous budget from property taxes. Of that, approximately $858,000 is from new property added to the tax role.
A resident’s overall property tax bill, however, is dependent on other factors as well as the county tax rate. An increase or decrease in property values along with the rates other local taxing entities levy can affect the bill. In Burnet County, both Marble Falls Independent School District and Burnet Consolidated Independent School District reduced their property tax rates for the 2019-20 fiscal year.
Typically, school districts account for the largest percentage of a property tax bill.
In other business, commissioners recognized Burnet County resident LaVonna Rea “Vonnie” Riddell Fox for her efforts in preserving local history, naming her an honorary member of the Burnet County Historical Commission.
Fox was born in Spicewood 92 years ago and remains an active stalwart of the community and ready at a moment’s notice to lend a hand.
In fact, during the Commissioners Court meeting, she told Burnet County Judge James Oakley to call her if the county needed help renovating the 1884-built Burnet County jail located off the courthouse square in Burnet.
Tommye Potts of the Burnet County Historical Commission introduced Fox, outlining her longtime commitment to Burnet County and the community.
The former jail has a special place in Fox’s heart, Potts told commissioners, as her father was the late Wallace Riddell, the longest-serving sheriff in Burnet County history. When Fox was 12 and her dad was elected sheriff, the family actually moved into a first-floor apartment at the jail, a common practice at the time.
She married Billy Joe Fox, a rancher and businessman, and the two opened Thunderbird Lodge on Lake Buchanan, which is still in operation today under different owners. Fox even ran the lodge by herself for a number of years as her husband sold property in Granite Shoals.
In 1972, the couple opened Fox Real Estate and went on to develop Delaware Springs and Oak Vista together. Her husband passed away in January 2018, but she still consults and offers help through her business and real estate endeavors.
As the county renovates the old jail, Oakley said Fox has been instrumental, even providing a bedroom set once owned by Adam R. Johnson, an early Burnet County resident and founder of Marble Falls.