By Phillip Williams
After a public hearing which drew at least one citizen’s complaint about the proposed 2023-24 Upshur County budget, the county commissioners court last Thursday scheduled Sept. 15 as date for adopting it and the proposed new county tax rate.
The court also set a Sept. 15 public hearing on the proposed new tax rate of 49.6 cents per $100 valuation, which, although lower than the current 59.9-cent rate, will bring in more tax revenue to the county than currently. That would result from property valuation increases and new properties.
County Judge Todd Tefteller thus conceded that property owners generally will “pay more taxes” than now. County Auditor Connie Williams has said the new rate will increase revenue by $1.1 million to help pay for a major courthouse renovation project.
Richard Smith, a past candidate for commissioner, said certain things were needed more than the nearly $13 million courthouse project since the public “outcry” was for “roads to be repaired.”
Williams responded the court had in recent years hiked the Road and Bridge Department budget by $2.8 million. Officials also pointed out the courthouse project had been in the works before any of them took office.
In another matter Thursday, the court approved arrangements for early voting for the Nov. 7 election on proposed amendments to the state constitution, and also approved leasing the city-owned Gilmer Civic Center to hold early voting on most days from Oct. 23-Nov. 3.
In another matter Thursday, the court unanimously nominated Jackie Oliver, and voted 4-1 to nominate Stacy McMahan, for the Upshur County Appraisal District’s Board of Directors.
It is elected by taxing entities, such as city councils, school boards, and the commissioners court.
Pct. 1 Commissioner Gene Dolle nominated McMahan, but County Judge Todd Tefteller quickly ruled that Dolle’s motion died for lack of a second. After Precinct 4 Commissioner Jay W. Miller nominated Oliver, Dolle protested to presiding officer Tefteller that “You didn’t give time for anybody to think about” seconding Dolle’s original motion.
Miller cast the lone vote against nominating McMahan, but gave no reason. Tefteller and Dolle joined Commissioners Michael Ashley and Dustin Nicholson in approving her.