The 2015 Wichita County budget was approved, Monday, August 18, 2014. The new budget is very similar to last year's.
The 2015 budget is $57,087,857. That's about $4.5 million more than the 2014 budget.
The new budget has minor changes to it. One of the biggest changes is a property tax decrease. Property taxes will reduce by 0.4222 cents, that's changing from $0.513590 to $0.509368.
This budget will raise less revenue from property taxes than last year's budget by $73,117.00 or 1 percent.
"They (county commissioners) did not want to consider an increase in taxes. They were going to go with the effective tax rates. So I changed my budget plan and worked on it that way and followed their lead," said Wichita County Judge Woody Gossum.
Although the property tax rate will decrease the property tax base actually increases. The county has adopted, what is called, an effective tax rate.
That means when the property tax base increases, property tax rates decrease. It's a way to offset that base cost. That tax base increased this year by about $40 million.
"We adopted what we call the effective rate. So even if your property value went up you shouldn't pay any significant number in greater taxes because we lowered the tax rate," said Gossum.
This is the second straight year property taxes decreased in the county.
Property tax base increases take into account homes, businesses, utilities, oil rates and other items. New property added to the tax roll this year will generate $268,988.
"The overall county budget is down about $600,000. We did not do increases for personnel, and I advised the counsel there are two major things they will face for the 2016 budget," said Gossum.
In 2015 the commissioners will have to plan for personnel salary increases. Judge Gossum said they haven't increased in four years. The county will also have to issue bonds over different improvements to the jail annex.
The new 2015 budget will kick in January 1, 2014.