Wichita County Commissioners held a public hearing Monday, to brief residents on the proposed budget for the 2014 fiscal year.
"We started with the philosophy that we were not going to have an increase in taxes. The economy's just been too up and down fiscally but, even more so emotionally," said Wichita County Judge Woody Gossom.
One Wichita County resident said, "We need a break. The economy's been so bad, we need a break."
This time though, there was some good news for property owners. Property value increased, which may cause property tax to decrease.
"The county tax rate's going to go down about six-tenths of one cent. And so, for people who's property value stayed the same, they'll actually pay less in taxes. If it went up a little then they're going to pay maybe a little more maybe not," said Judge Gossom.
One Wichita County resident said, "That does surprise me because it's hard times now." Surprising because, times have been hard for quite some time. On the heels of the recession and after a rough go for many homeowners, the change in tax rates, called the effective rate, couldn't have come at a better time.
"I'm happy for it because it helps my mother out. You know, since she's elderly and on a set income, that helps," said one woman before heading into the store.
"80 percent of our budget comes from revenue. 20 percent comes from reserve funds," said Judge Gossom. He also said, it's balanced that way because they know they wont spend one-hundred percent of the budget, so they won't tax people for the entire budget.
"I think that the time will come, when we will even in the U.S.A. get a break," said one resident. "I think it's a very good break. I mean every little dollar helps. You know, it gives them a little bit of a break," said another resident.
Another major budget item included, money for the Wichita County Sheriff's Office for courthouse security. One thing that wasn't in the budget, was pay increases for county employees, for the second year in a row. But, Judge Gossom said they will be looking to add them next year.
A final public budget hearing will be held Monday at 10:00 a.m., the County Commissioners will vote on the budget that day. Residents who want their voice heard should head down to the courthouse.