WCESD#4 adopts budget, sets tax rate

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By MIKE EDDLEMAN

Williamson County Emergency Services District #4 (ESD) – has set a lower tax rate and a higher budget for the upcoming fiscal year, able to capitalize on higher sales tax revenues and property values within the district.

While the ESD Board originally planned to keep the property tax rate from the current year – $0.09825 per $100 valuation – when appraisal numbers were certified from the County, the decision was made to lower the rate to $0.09325 per $100 valuation.

A property owner with a home valued at $250,000 will pay $233.13 in ESD property taxes in the coming year, while a home with the same value last year would have paid $245.63.

The reduction in rate is offset by ever-increasing sales tax revenues.

In 2019, $406,293 was generated in sales tax in the taxing district, and through only the first half of 2020, the district had generated $581,811.

The total budget for the ESD for the 2020-2021 fiscal year is $5.3 million, an increase of $456,977 over last year.

Much of the increase is due to higher operational costs with Fire Station #2 being online for its first full year. Last year, the ESD added six new firefighter positions, accounting for higher salaries – a $262,451 increase – but overtime is also being reduced by a projected $174,714.

Additionally, the opening of the second station is increasing utility costs across the district.

To meet one of the key goals for the upcoming year, which is to upgrade the physical evaluation of staff, the ESD budgeted $25,000 – an increase of $15,100 – for annual physicals.

The Special Projects budget increased by nearly $200,000 to $331,383 with plans to purchase additional equipment for Station #2 and new radios at $98,800.

The ESD plans to put a new brush truck in service in the new budget year, as well as enhance training with drill tower upgrades and expanded training funding to $68,500. The cost of personal protective equipment – which includes the traditional bunker gear – is expected to go up with a budget increase of $10,000 to $61,500.

The District’s debt service total decreased by $47,252 after the final payment was made on Station #1. Future plans not impacting the current budget include a new ladder truck and the construction of Fire Station #3 in the west side of the District.


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