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The Burnet County Commissioners Court set a proposed county tax rate of 0.3766 cents per $100 valuation for the 2022-23 budget year during its regular meeting Tuesday, Aug. 9. A public hearing on the rate and the upcoming budget is set for 9:30 a.m. Aug. 23 in the second-floor courtroom at the Burnet County Courthouse, 220 S. Pierce St. in Burnet. 

A vote on the final budget and tax rate will follow the public hearing. 

The proposed rate is a decrease of 2.31 cents over last year’s rate, possibly because of increased property valuations across the Highland Lakes. It is set at the voter-approval level, or the legal limit allowed before having to go before voters. 

The no-new-revenue rate is 0.335 cents and is determined by the Burnet Central Appraisal District based on state statute. The full calculation can be found at burnet-cad.org

State law requires the county to determine and publish both tax rates before setting its own tax rate. If the rate chosen is above the voter-approval level, it goes on the November ballot. At or below and it can be approved by commissioners.

The no-new-revenue rate shows taxpayers what the rate would be to generate the same amount of money as the previous year’s budget, in this case, the 2021-22 budget year, which ends Sept. 30. 

“The proposed tax rates will fund the 2023 budget,” Burnet County Judge James Oakley said at the meeting. “Our goal is to never exceed that voter-approval rate. It’s a limitation put on local government by the state. We stay within that.” 

That means not everyone will get what they want in the upcoming budget, which is still in the works. Deadline for completion is Aug. 15.

“We are prioritizing the needs and looking for creative ways to handle things,” Oakley continued. “I feel confident about the budget that will be filed on the fifteenth.” 

Both the no-new-revenue and voter-approval rates change each year based on property valuations, which are determined by the Central Appraisal District, and current budgets. 

County Auditor Karin Smith gave commissioners information on unencumbered funds and debt service at Tuesday’s meeting. 

Unencumbered funds represents money that will be left in the current budget at the end of the budget year that is not obligated to debt service. The general fund will be left with $9 million; debt service, $1.2 million; and road and bridge special, $1.6 million. 

The county is paying on eight lines of debt for road and jail projects. Total principal or contract payments to be paid from property taxes in the current budget is $5.049 million. That amounts to $543,643 in interest for a total payment of just under $5.6 million. 

suzanne@thepicayune.com