Despite Hurricane Harvey devastating areas of the county, commissioners were able to successfully pass the Fiscal Year 2018 budget. In a 4-1 vote Galveston County Commissioners Court passed a budget that represents a 12.22% tax rate reduction over a seven year period.
The county also continued its pattern of lowering overall debt and maintained an "AA+" rating from Fitch Ratings and an "Aaa" from Moody's Investors Services, Inc. on its general-obligation debt.
In his letter to county officials, Chief Financial Officer David Delac attributed budget successes to sound fiscal leadership and a team effort that relied on the knowledge and expertise of individuals on all levels of county government.
“Our fundamental goal in developing this budget is to minimize the burden on taxpayers by funding state and federally mandated programs and those discretionary services most beneficial to the community,” Delac said. “The primary focus is the health, safety and welfare of citizens and visitors to Galveston County.”
County Judge Mark Henry, who takes pride in the fact that the rate has been lowered each year he’s been in office, said he feels Galveston County is well positioned to meet community needs and future challenges.
“Even through our recovery efforts with Hurricane Harvey, Galveston County is still flourishing with opportunities,” Henry said. “Our petrochemical industry and workforce is thriving, our top-ranked universities and junior colleges were not damaged and our economic outlook remains strong.”
Included in the new budget is a one-time supplement payment of $1,250 for all county employees and approximately $276,000 for merit increases and position upgrades. There is also $1.29 million set aside for equipment and capital expenditures for information technology, law enforcement, beach and parks and road and bridge.
Under the new rate of $0.5519, the owner of a property valued at $100,000 would pay about $551.