Wichita County tax rate to increase

WICHITA FALLS - Wichita County residents will soon have a higher tax rate, but not by much. 
 
Commissioners have been working with department heads to try and keep a lower tax rate and they've now come up with a figure.
 
The new rate set Monday by commissioners will raise the overall tax rate by about a nickle. 
 
Right now the total tax rate for those living in Wichita County is a little over 60 cents. Commissioners agreed that to cover the jail bond the tax rate would need to be set at about 66 cents. 
 
"We actually had volleyed back and forth between a rate of 66.2 or a rate of 65.7. Doesn't mean a great amount of dollars to the county overall, probably 300,000 in play, but we decided, the court voted then today to go with the lower of the two rates," Jeff Watts, Precinct 4 Commissioner, said. 
 
The maintenance and operations rate is the effective rate set by any additional increased values, such as the upkeep of the county including payroll for county employees, radio systems, and operations within the courthouse. 
 
"We had intended all along to maintain and that's why we took seriously the amount of time we spent working those budget cuts out because we had costs that were outside of our control, that we had no control over and increases that came to the budget," said Watts. 
 
Those costs include the interest and sinking fund taxes which are used to pay for the jail bond resulting in a 5.6 cent increase. 
 
"Most people base or look at that calculation as compared to a $100,00 home," said Watts. "So we're not going to see a great increase there at all but we did at enough, which we are required to do, to fund the jail bond payment."
 
Wichita county residents who live in a house valued at $100,000 pay about $606.
 
Commissioner Watts said with the tax increase, house owners will see an increase of about $51, bringing the total to around $657. 
 
The commissioners are ahead of schedule now that the tax rate and budget are set for the next fiscal year.
 

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