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Commissioners one step closer to passing county budget

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By LPR Staff
Editor/POST-REGISTER

During the regular meeting of the Caldwell County Commissioners Court on Monday morning, the county’s governing body drew one step closer to passing a budget for the coming fiscal year which will include an increase in revenue, without an increase in tax rates.

County Judge Ronnie Duesterheft reported during the meet

ing that the latest calculations reflect a decision to hold the tax rate for county taxpayers steady at $0.6910 per $100 of valuation will likely create an increase in tax payment of $4.02 on an average-priced home in Caldwell County.

The increase in revenue will be derived from a slight increase in both taxable values and taxable property from the last fiscal year.

After much negotiation and maneuvering, the latest incarnation of the county’s proposed budget includes a pay increase for employees. However, the increase is not based upon pay grade or percentage, but is an offer of a $900 across-the-board increase.

“I thought that was the best way to do it,” Duesterheft said. “This way, it helps the lower-paid employees get a little bit closer to the level of the higher-paid employees, without allowing those at a higher pay rate to continue to ‘get away from them.’”

Duesterheft, who was appointed to fill the unexpired term of late county Judge H.T. Wright, and who will leave office after the Nov. 2 General Election, mused he hopes the economy rebounds prior to the next fiscal year.

“If not, whoever winds up in this seat next year is going to have a hard time figuring out how to maintain the budget without having to make cuts in personnel.”

During the court’s next meeting, on Sept. 13, 2010, a public hearing will be held regarding the tax rate and increases in revenue. The commissioners are expected to make a final decision on budget issues and approve the 2010-2011 Fiscal Year budget in late-September.

The Caldwell County Commissioners Court meets on the second, third and fourth Monday of each month at 9 a.m. in Room 100 of the Caldwell County Courthouse.

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