Henderson County Judge Richard Sanders worked to put the finishing touches on a proposed $32.3 million budget on Wednesday.
The document filed on the day of the July 31 deadline was a balancing act, Sanders said, as the county was able to offset some of the revenue losses due to low oil and gas prices, by an increase in money made for housing out of county inmates.
“We had the challenge last year of reducing the budget a little over a million dollars,” Sanders said. “This year our ad-valorem values were just about $8 million more than last year. With a budget the size of the county’s, that’s negligible.”
Despite the flat revenues, Sanders doesn’t expect the process to be as painful as last year when several employee positions were eliminated.
“Because of the tough cuts we made last year, it’s a whole lot better,” Sanders said. “We’re kind of holding our own.”
The grand total of requested expenditures in the budget is $32,381,990. Last year, expenditures totaled $32,714,248. The General Fund total is $25,309,000, up from $24,703,718 last year. Proposed Road and Bridge expenditures for 2014 are listed at $5,134,495. That total was $5,100,083 in 2013.
“We weren’t expecting much revenue from out-of-county inmates, based on last year,” Sanders said. “Those revenues looked a whole lot more promising. That helped us in balancing the budget.”
Once the county judge’s proposed budget is filed, the Commissioners Court begins its budget work. The proposed numbers are subject to amendments by the county commissioners before the document is passed. Sanders said Commissioners Court will have budget workshops Aug. 6 and Aug. 8 and two more the following week.
The Texas Local Government Code states that the proposed budget must be completed during the 7th or the 10th month of the fiscal year, as determined by the Commissioners Court.
In Henderson County, the county judge files the proposed budget by July 31, and the finalized budget is completed in September.