On August 30, 2002, the Williamson County Commissioners Court unanimously approved the fiscal year 2022-2023 county budget and set the county tax rate. The total county tax rate for tax year 2022 is $0.375608 and is six and a half cents less than the county’s current total tax rate. This rate will decrease property taxes on the average homestead residence by approximately $100 next year.
“My main goal during this budget process was to be able to provide property tax relief to our Williamson County residents. This tax rate does just that, while the budget addresses all of our most essential needs, especially in the area of public safety,” said County Judge Bill Gravell.
For a second year in a row, the Williamson County Commissioners Court approved increasing property tax exemptions for all residential homesteads in the county. The percentage-based exemption for ad valorem taxes on residence homesteads increased to 5% or a minimum of $5,000. Homestead property tax exemptions for people 65 and older and disabled persons increased to $125,000.
“I am thankful the Commissioners Court supported my initiative to increase the homestead exemptions again this year. Those exemptions on residential homesteads coupled with a reduced tax rate will result in a decrease of approximately $100 in the tax bill for the average residential homeowner,” said Precinct 2 Commissioner Cynthia Long.
The total county budget is comprised of the General Fund, Road and Bridge Fund and Debt Service Fund. The total county budget for October 2022 through September 2023 is $505,381,808.
The adopted FY23 General Fund budget is $282,468,650 and includes 47 new full-time positions, two part-time and moving three from part-time to full-time. Increases to personnel include additional employees to open the new 480th District Court and County Court-at-Law No. 5. It also includes EMS personnel to extend the Williamson County Jester Annex station operations from 12 hours a day to 24 hours a day.
“The growth in Williamson County drives the need for more courts and more EMS personnel and more services in general. Despite inflation and supply chain challenges, we have accomplished our budget with a reduction in the tax rate without compromising our abilities to provide county services,” said Precinct 1 Commissioner Terry Cook.
In order to retain and recruit qualified county employees, the Commissioners Court approved a 5% cost-of-living (COLA) increase and 3% merit for civilian employees. Law enforcement and corrections will receive step increases to their salary charts of between 2 and 2.5% as well as a 5% COLA. In addition, the Commissioners Court approved a salary study for law enforcement and corrections positions along with $1.3 million to implement increases in the middle of the budget year.
“Public safety is one of our top priorities. Our law enforcement and corrections personnel need to have competitive pay in order to attract employees and be fully staffed,” said Precinct 4 Commissioner Russ Boles.
The General Fund budget includes $12.7 million for capital improvements as well as $7 million for the County’s long-range transportation plan. Additionally, they approved $1.745 million to go toward either capital improvements or the long-range transportation plan to be decided at a later date.
The adopted FY23 Road and Bridge Fund budget is $57,947,339. It includes $5 million for the long-range transportation plan and $6 million of a multi-year program to address sub-standard width roadways and widen county roads. It also includes a 5% COLA and 3% merit increase for employees and 8 new employees.
The adopted FY23 Debt Service Fund budget is $164,965,819 and includes $30 million for debt defeasance to pay down debt early.
“Paying down voter-approved debt early has been a priority of the Commissioners Court. I am proud of our track record and for saving taxpayers $186.8 million in interest,” said Precinct 3 Commissioner Valerie Covey.
The adopted FY2023 budget is available for residents to review on the Budget Office website, under the section titled “Budget Overview”. The link is www.wilco.org/Departments/Budget-Office/Budget-Overview. A hard copy of the recommended budget will be available at the County Clerk’s Office in the Justice Center located at 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Street, in Georgetown, when it is filed no later than September 30, 2022.