At its regular meeting on February 8, County Commissioners heard a report from Judith Hargrove on behalf of the Blanco County Appraisal District. She indicated that the amount of $285,000 is located in a fiduciary account that belongs to the Appraisal District. The funds are not allocated and are the result of twenty eight years of accumulated interest. She said that the account has been audited every year.
The Appraisal District is proposing to use the monies to pay off the debt on its new building located in Johnson City. By paying off the debt, she said it will reduce the Appraisal District’s interest costs which will reduce its operating budget thereby benefiting each of the taxing entities under its umbrella.
Judge Guthrie asked for clarification about the source of the monies in question. He said that the money would not be there had the taxing entities not provided the funds in the first place. He indicated that all the taxing entities, especially the schools, are concerned about their financial positions in light of proposed cuts to the State budget.
Ms. Hargrove indicated that none of the funds came from the operating funds of the various entities. She said, however, that the Appraisal District board will propose an amendment to its budget that will include paying off the debt on the building. At that time, the taxing entities will be able to discuss the proposal and make their recommendations.
Will Shelton, vice chairman of the Appraisal District board, said that in December the board proposed using the funds to pay off the building debt. “We sent the various taxing entities a letter that may have given the impression that it was a done deal. That is unfortunate. It was only a proposal.” He said that as a business man, he would pay off the 5% note. He indicated, however, that as a taxing entity he might feel otherwise.
Tex Riley asked if there was an estimate of how much money would be saved by paying off the debt. He was told that the figures were not available.
After some discussion, Commissioner James Sultemeier moved that the monies be used to reduce the Appraisal District’s budget for next year. His motion was seconded by Commissioner Chris Liesmann. Commissioners Paul Granberg and John Wood voted against the motion. Judge Guthrie broke the tie voting in favor. The recommendation by the Commissioners is not binding on the Appraisal District but only voices the Courts’ opinion as to how the funds should be allocated.
In other business, the Commissioners authorized Judge Guthrie to sign an Interlocal contract with the Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG) for scrap tire recycling in connection with the trash-off not to exceed the amount of $4,000.
The regular meeting of the Commissioners Court scheduled for Tuesday, March 8, will be moved to Monday, March 7, due to conflict with continuing education courses for the Commissioners.
This article was corrected. It previously stated that the amount in the fund was $85,000. The actual amount is $285,000.