Finally, after several weeks of budget workshops, the 2012-2013 budget for Orange County has been adopted. Orange County Judge Carl Thibodeaux said it’s not over. “Because it is in the budget does not mean you’re going to be allowed to spend it.” He said all departments will continue to be reviewed throughout the year to keep a close eye on the budget.

“There have been some revenue drops in various areas. We will be studying why they dropped the way they did.” Thibodeaux said they will be working on ways to get the revenue back. He also plans to hold many workshops during the year with each department.

“Everybody will know where we stand. Everybody will know where we’re headed, so we don’t have to go through this again next year,” said Thibodeaux.

With additional cuts of three percent in departments that had not previously volunteered reductions and with the adopted tax rate of .5299 the adopted budget is expected to have ending cash and investments balance of $1,031,302.

The largest reductions came from capital outlay cutting $3,290,853 and major road construction cutting $300,000. Freezing elected officials pay and other payroll deductions, excluding insurance, cut $202,721 from the budget. Group insurance reduced the budget another $15,448.

The tax rate of .5299 set by commissioners is the same as last year’s tax rate. Only residents whose property value has increased will see a raise in taxes. If your property’s valuation is the same as last year, your taxes will remain the same. The taxes are for maintenance and operation of the County only; the County has no debt at this time.

In other business the court set the salaries, expenses and other allowances of elected County and precinct officials for fiscal year 2012/2013 as those published in the newspaper Sept. 15.

They also accepted a payment of $370,822.87 from the state comptroller for sales tax for the month of July and paid bills totaling $912,391.93.

The second Monday of each month was designated as the regular commissioners court sessions as required by local government code 81.005. The time of the Oct. 1 meeting was changed to 10 a.m.

A request for $20,000 from the Spindletop Center was accepted by commissioners and is a budget item.

Jeff Kelley director of emergency management said we just received a $380,000 payment from the state for the Shelter of Last Resort project on Farm Road 1442. He said the state is up to date on payments of Hurricane Ike first-round money.

Commissioners accepted the recommendation of Lynda Gunstream, tax assessor-collector, to reject a bid for property on Bridgeview and except a bid for property on First Street.

Commissioners also signed a lease agreement for offices occupied by social services through Dec. 31 for $900 a month. After December, the space will be rented on a month-to-month basis with option to terminate with 30 days written notice because the office is expected to change location within the first three months of 2013.

Commissioners also approved language changes to update the employee handbook.

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.