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Burnet County 2020-21 tax rate unchanged, budget adopted

Burnet County Judge James Oakley

Burnet County Judge James Oakley and the Burnet County Commissioners Court approved a budget during the Aug. 25 meeting that keeps two previously grant-funded positions at the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office. File photo

Burnet County commissioners approved the 2020-21 fiscal year budget and tax rate during their regular meeting Aug. 25.

The county will keep the tax rate the same as the previous year’s at 39.99 cents per $100 valuation. The budget comes in at a little more than $24 million.

“I feel very good about this budget,” Burnet County Judge James Oakley said. “It’s very responsible. Anytime you can keep the tax rate the same, that’s a good thing.”

Oakley also touted additions to law enforcement, namely the continuation of two positions at the sheriff’s office that had previously been funded by a grant as well as a patrol deputy.

“In the national environment of defund the police, we actually increased the funding of the police,” he said. 

Other increases include a 2 percent cost-of-living allowance for staff; line items for indigent legal defense to keep pace with costs; and a 20 percent absorption of a grant-funded position that sees a one-fifth decrease in funding each year for five years.

The budget will raise $1.1 million more in property taxes than last year, a 4.3 percent increase. Of that amount, $919,909 is from new properties added to the tax roll. 

“It’s just people continuing to move to our area and develop new residences as well as some new businesses,” Oakley said. “It’s too soon to tie it to the COVID incident because these valuations were as of January 1, so it was before the pandemic, but I can tell you, since the pandemic has hit, we’ve had record numbers of building permits for this year already.”