Tuesday, the Williamson County Commissioners Court unanimously approved the fiscal year 2023-2024 county budget and set the county tax rate.
“County government is about providing essential services to help our residents. We take care of law enforcement, criminal justice, EMS, roads, elections and more so that our residents can feel safe and secure,” said County Judge Bill Gravell.
The total county budget is comprised of the General Fund, Road and Bridge Fund and Debt Service Fund. The total county budget for October 2023 through September 2024 is $560,109,974.
The adopted FY24 General Fund budget is $318,142,882 and includes 45 new full-time positions and moving two part-time positions to full-time. Public safety had the largest increase with 67% of the new employees. It also includes EMS personnel for a new EMS station in Liberty Hill.
In order to retain and recruit qualified county employees, the Commissioners Court approved a 4% merit for civilian employees. Law enforcement and corrections will receive step increases to their salary charts of between 2 and 2.5%. In addition, the Commissioners Court approved mid-year increases for law enforcement based on a salary study at a cost of $5 million.
“Public safety is our highest priority. This year’s budget continues to show our commitment to a safe Williamson County with staffing increases in the Sheriff’s office, District Attorney’s office, County Attorney’s office, EMS, Emergency Management and the county courts,” said Precinct 2 Commissioner Cynthia Long.
The General Fund budget includes $16.2 million for capital improvements as well as $7 million for the County’s long-range transportation plan.
“Budgets are the end product of much compromise and anguish. In the end, our combined goals are to provide for the future needs of both our residents and our county departments. I believe this budget meets the majority of these needs,” said Precinct 1 Commissioner Terry Cook.
The adopted FY23 Road and Bridge Fund budget is $72,339,438. It includes $15 million for the long-range transportation plan and $14,570,000 for capital improvements. It also includes a 4% merit increase for employees and five new full-time employees.
“Transportation continues to be one of the most important ways we at the county level can work to improve our residents’ quality of life. Williamson County has a Long-Range Transportation Plan to accommodate our growth and a plan for maintaining our current roadways. This budget helps us with transportation today and in the future,” said Precinct 4 Commissioner Russ Boles.
The adopted FY23 Debt Service Fund budget is $169,627,654 and includes $20 million for debt defeasance to pay down debt early.
“The commissioners court approved a budget that allow us to continue to pay debt off early, saving millions for taxpayers, while still meeting the needs of a growing county,” said Precinct 3 Commissioner Valerie Covey.
The Commissioners Court also set the county tax rate. The total county tax rate for tax year 2023 is $0.377445 and is an increase of 0.5% over the county’s current 2022 tax rate. This rate will increase property taxes on the average homestead residence by approximately $130.
The adopted FY2024 budget will be available for residents to review online and in the County Clerk’s Office no later than Sept. 29, 2023. The Budget Office website can be found at www.wilcotx.gov/budget with information on the budget under the section titled “2024 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, Georgetown, Texas.