County looks ahead to 2020 budget, tax rate


Madison County Commissioners eyed retaining the county’s current tax rate for the coming fiscal year Monday in a regular meeting that focused mainly on the future.

“From the information we have at this point in time, we’re not looking at any change in the current tax rate,” County Judge Tony Leago said, stressing that the initial proposed rate could change as more data on county revenue and expenses get entered in coming weeks.

Monday’s meeting agenda focused on 2020 more than 2019, with requests to consider staff additions and naming the next slate of election judges around the county.

Commissioners approved Election Administrator Earl Parker’s nominations for election judges Betty Ann Reynolds of Midway, James Earl DeBose of Madisonville, Eddie Holmes of Madisonville, Debra Casey of North Zulch and Joyce Coleman, also of North Zulch. They also approved alternate judges Latrece Craig of Midway, Dianne Dean of Midway, Lydia Miller of Madisonville, Fred Keefer of North Zulch and Ann Hudson of Normangee.

Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Jon Stevens also asked Commissioners to consider adding to next year’s budget a full-time clerk to provide collection service for both him and Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Steven Cole. Stevens told commissioners that having only one clerk impedes efforts to collect on unpaid citations, leading to thousands in revenue lost each year.

Last year, he said, the office brought in $537,000 in fines, but had $295,000 in outstanding delinquent fines. For 2019, the office has received $242,000 in fines, but has $243,000 in delinquent monies.

The new full-time clerk position would be dedicated to collection activity for both JP offices.

Leago stressed how much income that could mean for the county.

“If you go back to 2006, which is a very collectible fine, it’s about $2 million,” he said.

Precinct 4 Commissioner David Pohorelsky has also requested room in the 2020 budget to add a full-time operator to precinct staff.