Education gets largest allotment in $54.7M Lamar County budget

By HASKEL BURNS,

Lamar County residents will not see an increase in ad valorem taxes for the upcoming fiscal year, as the Lamar County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to accept the county’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget with the same millage rate as last year.

For the upcoming fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, the total tax levy in in the county – including the Lamar County School District – will remain at 124.15 mills. With the passage of the budget, county residents will not see an increase in taxes unless the value of their home increases over the next fiscal year.

“We’re blessed with growth in the county, and in this particular budget cycle, we worked hard to maintain our budgets over last year,” Lamar County Administrator Jody Waits said.

A mill is defined as one-thousandth of a dollar, one-hundredth of a dime or a tenth of a cent.

Of Lamar County’s 124.15 mills, education gets the largest allocation at 52 percent. Twenty-five percent will go to general county funds, 13 percent to roads and bridges, 4 percent to sanitation, 3 percent to fire protection, 1 percent to parks and recreation, 1 percent to bonds and 1 percent to other uses.

The county’s total budget for the upcoming fiscal year is approximately $54.7 million, with a total budget ending cash balance of $13.67 million. The general budget is $27.64 million, with a general budget ending cash balance of $5.58 million.

Of the total budget, 29 percent will go to public works, 29 percent will go to general government, 27 percent will go to public safety, 4 percent will go to culture and recreations, 4 percent will go to interfund, 3 percent will go to debt services, 2 percent will go to economic development and 2 percent will go to health and welfare.

The county’s assessed value for Fiscal Year 2019 is approximately $599.38 million, which is an increase of $44.5 million – or 7.42 percent – over the previous fiscal year.

“I’ll point out that $25 million of that came with two large developments and their solar farms, so a large part of that growth came from that,” Waits said.