The county commission passed a budget on Monday with no tax increase.
The commission unanimously passed a budget of $557,756,816 at an all-day session. It did so without increasing the tax rate, which will remain at $2.15 per $100 for 2017-2018.
“I would like to say, I have been at this for 31 years, in my county commission time, and I think this was the most challenging [budget] I have been through,” Rogers Anderson, county mayor, said. “And I want to thank so many of the people involved in this to make this a balanced budget without a tax increase.”
The schools will take the majority–more than two-thirds– of the budget with $337,706,000. The general fund, which covers everything from parks and recreation to the animal control center to the health center, came in at $96,896,000. The sheriff’s department and public safety, including the jail, will receive $28.25 million. The highway and roads department will get $11.7 million. And a total of $43.4 million will go to debt service.
There had been a lot of contention in budget negotiations, mostly concerning school funding. A discussion that overshadowed the budget process was how to fund a needed 17 to 21 new schools that Williamson County Schools expects the county will need to accommodate students projected to enter the district in the next decade. A capital outlay of more than a half-billion dollars could be needed to build the schools.
The county and schools compromised on the 2017-18 schools budget, which avoided a potential property tax increase.
Unlike last year’s budget, which came in at $515 million, there will be no tax rate increase this year. Property rolls increased, which accounts for the extra roughly $30 million in revenue.