County tax rate to increase

The Nolan County Commissioners met for its regular meeting on Monday morning, Aug. 8, 2011 at the Nolan County Courthouse to discuss a variety of issues.The proposed tax rate for the next fiscal year was discussed following recent department hearings from the budget workshops that have been taking place. The proposed tax rate presented was at .423023, equaling an increase of about three cents.Nolan County Judge Tim Fambrough allowed the audience an opportunity for input, though none was given. The commissioners, however, held a discussion on the matter — on whether to take action now or wait until the next year to possibly offer an even higher rate increase. The area wind towers, the closing of a local car dealership and the housing market have played significant roles in the tax rate.While the rate does not exceed the rollback rate, it does exceed the effective rate, thus prompting a record vote of the commissioners. All four precincts were in unanimous approval and a public hearing on the tax rate increase was scheduled for the next county meeting slated for Monday, Aug. 22, 2011.In addition, a couple of bids were also considered during the meeting, including for a new or used water truck for Precinct 3. Only one bid was offered by the East Texas Truck Systems in Tyler yet the company offered two options. The commissioners approved the receiving of the bids only in order to conduct further review before making a selection.The bids for oil, gas and mineral lease were also discussed briefly following the reading of several instructions on the matter from the county attorney. Approval was given only to establish a public hearing on the issue for the upcoming regular meeting on Monday morning, Aug. 22 for the consideration of bids.Furthermore, the commissioners were presented with a proposal of a request by District Clerk Patti Neill to transfer her records, which are on microfilm, to CDs. The reader for the microfilm is no longer in service, and Neill utilizes the local library's equipment for the microfilm as needed.Among the greatest concern of the transfers are rolls of criminal records, though there are those from civil and tax cases. Eventually, the transition to new technology will have to be made as the records have to be kept. A rate per image was presented, but a gradual transfer — instead of a complete switch — would not honor that rate. In order to take a more detailed study on the matter, the commissioners decided to table the issue.Other items for consideration were on the no plan change to the TCDRS 2012 Retirement System plan for Nolan County, which was approved. The 2012 fees for the Sheriff and Constable were also up for approval, and as no changes were presented for the fees, the approval was made. The burn ban for Nolan County was approved to remain in effect for two weeks; the minutes from the July 25 meeting were approved also. Additionally, reports from the Veteran's Service office and the Nolan County Tax Office and Trapper were received, and the budget workshop for the upcoming fiscal year was planned to continue this afternoon.Before the meeting's end, Judge Fambrough informed everyone in attendance that the county has been presented an award for meeting criteria based on the information presented on its website. He also read two letters of appreciation — one from SISD (Sweetwater Independent School District) regarding the recent seal coating project and the other from the OXO Family Partnerships for the county's response to the recent fire.