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LOCAL BRIEFS: City Council OKs budget, tax rate

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From staff reports

The Lockhart City Council has approved a $38.6 million budget for the 2021-2022 Fiscal Year and a property tax rate of 63.54 cents per $100 valuation.
The tax rate will be effective for 2021. Residents will receive their tax statements after Oct. 1 — the beginning of the new fiscal year, which is when the new budget also takes effect.
Based on the proposed tax rate, the maintenance and operations portion of the rate will be 52.97 cents per $100 assessed value compared to last year’s maintenance and operation rate of 55.21 cents per $100, resulting in a decrease of 2.24 cents or 4.06%.
The interest and sinking portion of the tax rate increased from 8.33 cents to 10.57 cents per $100 of assessed value, resulting in an increase of 2.24 cents or 26.9%.
“Therefore, there will be no increase in the maintenance and operations tax due on a $100,000 home,” Finance Director Pam Larison said.
The City of Lockhart’s portion of a homeowner’s property tax bill is 27% of their total bill based on current tax rates. The remaining 73% of the tax bill is for property taxes charged by the other taxing jurisdictions including the Lockhart Independent School District (42%), Caldwell County (29%), Farm-to-Market (0.004%), and Plum Creek Conservation District and Groundwater tax (2.0%).
Property taxes paid to the City of Lockhart make up approximately 37% of the City’s General Fund revenues. Sales tax revenue makes up another 15%, while other fees and services cover the remaining 48%. The revenues from the General Fund provide maintenance and support for infrastructure that includes city streets and parks. It also allows the City to provide public safety for its citizens by way of fire and police protection.
The no-new-revenue-rate — or amount that would have generated the same revenue as in the 2020-2021 fiscal year — was .5857 cents per $100 valuation, due in part to a roughly $20.3 million appraised value on new construction.
The average home in Lockhart, according to the Caldwell County Appraisal District, is valued at $202,936.
A proposed tax rate of .6459 cents per $100 valuation would have necessitated voter approval.

County tables budget decision, adopts tax rate

The Caldwell County Commissioners Court on Tuesday voted to table making a decision on its approximately $30 million budget for the coming fiscal year.
The court will reopen the item for discussion at its Sept. 24 meeting — the final meeting before the new fiscal year.
“We’re (still) making some revenue projections for the courts and having to look back at 2019,” Caldwell County Judge Hoppy Haden said. “Because of COVID, we had no revenue from the courts last year. So we’re assuming and hoping the courts will stay open.
“We have to approve it on the 24th.”
Commissioners approved a tax rate of 67.19 cents per $100 valuation. The tax rate will raise more taxes for maintenance and operations than last year’s rate, but it is an effective decrease of 4.74 percent from the previous year.
Due to rising property values, a $200,000 home in Caldwell County will raise approximately $122 extra in taxes with the new rate.
Commissioners on Tuesday also voted to leave the burn ban off.

Sheriff’s Office: No credibility to ‘cartel’ kidnapping rumor

The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office last week put out an official statement addressing apparent chatter on social media about kidnapping and abductions in the county.
“According to social media, these actions are being carried out by Cartel members,” the statement from the sheriff’s office read. “The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office has not been provided any credible or factual information related to these social media posts, nor has there been any calls for service related to this.”
The sheriff’s office asked those with “credible information related to these alleged incidents” to contact them at 512-398-6777.

Vaccines for immunocompromised folks available

In accordance with CDC COVID-19 guidelines, a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines are recommended for administration to moderately to severely immunocompromised people eight months after their initial two doses. Per the CDC, you are considered immunocompromised if:
You have been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood.
You received an organ transplant and are taking medication that suppresses the immune system.
You received a stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system.
You have moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome).
You have an advanced or untreated HIV infection.
You are going through active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response.
COVID-19 booster shots for Moderna and Pfizer vaccine recipients are available at the Scott Annex (1403 Blackjack St.) every day 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. until Oct. 9. You will have to be able to prove that you are considered immunocompromised by filling out a form at the site. Visit the Caldwell County Office of Emergency Management’s website for updates.
Several Lockhart vaccine providers reportedly have boosters available upon publication. These are subject to change, so it’s best to call them and check. According to the City of Lockhart website, you can receiver a booster at:
Express Pharmacy (1724 S. Colorado St.): Pfizer doses are available. If you’re a regular customer, they will review your profile to determine if you’re considered immunocompromised. If you’re not a regular customer, you’ll need to bring your COVID-19 vaccination card, along with documentation that proves you have an underlying condition that makes you eligible for a booster. No appointments are required. Walk-ins are welcome after 12 p.m., Monday – Friday. (512) 398-2288
Walgreens (200 S. Colorado St.): Pfizer doses are available. To obtain a booster shot, you’re required to bring your COVID-19 vaccination card and fill out paperwork to determine if you are immunocompromised. No appointments are required. (512) 398-2920
H-E-B Pharmacy (403 S. Colorado St.): Both Pfizer and Moderna doses are available. To obtain a booster shot, you’re required to bring your COVID-19 vaccination card and fill out paperwork to determine if you are immunocompromised. No appointments required. (512) 398-6797
Walmart (1904 S. Colorado St.): Both Pfizer and Moderna doses are available. To obtain a booster shot, you’re required to bring your COVID-19 vaccination card and documentation on underlying conditions. No appointments required. (512) 398-2364

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