By Elsa Maxey
Typically by this time of the year, Fort Bend County has a newly adopted tax rate. Although the action to do so was planned for last week after two public hearings complete with legal notice postings and publications, it didn’t take place.
The Commissioners Court meeting agenda item of September 10 expressly signaled commissioners would “take all appropriate action to adopt the 2013 Tax Rate.” But no action was taken. County Judge Bob Hebert announced that necessary language was left out of the newspaper publication (not this one).
“Action cannot be taken on this agenda item today due to the failure of our newspaper to publish (the notice) in accordance with the law,” he said.
In an attempt to resolve the matter, Commissioner Andy Meyers made what was referred to as a suggested motion “so that we can take the steps to correct that oversight and address our tax rate at a later date,” said Judge Hebert.
The approved motion set in place two public hearings this month on the proposal to increase the tax rate for 2013. They will be held before the new fiscal year’s operations begin in October, which goes hand in hand with an annually adopted tax rate. But it wasn’t the tax rate language that was left out.
Judge Hebert said the public hearings were property posted and held on the tax rate, “so we’ve been through this process completely to the point of setting a tax rate, however, there is a notice of additional tax revenue that needs to be posted following the last public hearing.” Reportedly, inadvertently left out was $167,000 of taxpayer’s money to go towards paying for two positions. At last week’s commissioners court meeting, it was stated that the county budget was filed September 3 for a total of $271,328,104, including the two approved positions.
The hearings on the tax rate itself, apparently did not have to be held de novo, but rather hearings relating to the additional tax revenue, a part of the budget, which in its entirely has already been approved. But since the language was left out of the newspaper publication, according to a county source, the county decided on the redo. “It just adds a few days to the process but I don’t think it will have any impact on our fiscal year’s revenues at all,” said Judge Hebert.