Members of the Kerr County Commissioners Court unanimously passed a budget calling for salary increases for some elected officials and county employees, along with a $989,830 deficit to be drawn from the county’s savings account.
Shortly before the court approved the budget at its Sept. 14 meeting, County Judge Rob Kelly commented that the deficit is less than the $2 million shortfall that's typically prevailed in recent years. He made it a point earlier this year to try to shrink that deficit in his original budget proposal. The proposal, which omitted expenditures for non-state-mandated services such as volunteer fire departments and veterans services, served as the basis for the final spending plan that ended up including those items.
The salaries of most elected county officials will increase, according to the elected officials salary schedule. The increases are kicking in according to a longevity plan approved before the pandemic hit. The county's longevity policy for all full-time employees allows for a 2.5% increase in pay after the employee’s first year is completed, then every three years after that, according to the auditor's office. With a few exceptions, all new employees who start working for the county will start at the base salaries for that position, unless they hold certain certifications that enable them to start at a higher step on the step/grade schedule, according to the auditor's office.
No one spoke at the Sept. 14 public hearing just prior to the adoption of the budget that day.
The court also unanimously decreased the county property tax rate from 51.1 cents per $100 of valuation to 47.57 cents per $100 valuation — a decrease of about 7% — although this isn’t expected to lower taxes for many, as the market value of property in the region rose by nearly $300 million to $2.7 billion in 2019 — an increase of about 13%, according to the the Kerr Central Appraisal District.
Kerr County is expected to obtain about $18.8 million from property tax revenue in the upcoming budget year, an estimated 3.3% increase over this year, although $457,611 is from property added to the tax roll this year, according to the budget available on the county’s website.