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Rockwall County residents can look forward to paying less taxes in 2015 if the county’s proposed budget is passed later this year.

County officials met this week to discuss the first draft of the fiscal year 2015 budget, which not only includes a balanced budget for the next year but is 100 percent free of tax increases.

The 2014 budget included an increase to .3959 cents per hundred dollars, but the current proposal will see a decrease to .3864 cents per hundred dollars – equal to the tax rate adopted by the county in 2013. A full copy of the proposed budget can be viewed on the county’s website at rockwallcountytexas.com.

The county is anticipating total revenue of $34,407,788 in the year 2015, with $29,872,788 in tax revenue, $4.125 million in fees, fines and grant, plus another $410,000 in delinquent taxes from the previous year. Total expenses for 2015 are estimated at $35,135,656, with $27,761,776 coming from the general fund, $7,363,880 for debt service and $10,000 for road and bridge expense.

The 2015 budget includes almost $1 million toward personnel expenses, including $550,429 for the implemented step plan, $401,585 for new personnel hires and $44,430 for other new personnel costs. The six new personnel additions include two sheriff’s deputies, a collections agent, a district attorney prosecutor, a district attorney investigator and an assistant auditor.

Major capital expenses in 2015 are proposed at a total of $428,542, more than $30,000 less than the previous year. Health and Welfare contributions will be $321,116 – a decrease of almost $6,000 from the 2014 total.

According to the county, this draft proposal meets all objectives the Commissioners Court set forth, including:

• Preparing the county for the future (capital, studies, new personnel)

• No tax increase (lowers tax by one cent)

• A balanced budget ($21,000 more than expenses)

• Fair and honorable treatment of county employees (step plan increase, educational incentives)

The 2015 budget proposal also notes that net taxable income for FY 2015 rose by 10.03 percent over FY 2014, despite the county predicting a 5-6 percent growth, putting more money back in the county budget.

Also, the revenue projections are based upon a 98 percent tax collection rate. Rockwall County has historically collected 100 percent, which could increase the revenue by up to $900,000.

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