County still eyeing unchanged tax rate for 2020


Madison County Commissioners moved the ball forward on next year’s property tax rate Monday at their regular meeting, even if the rate itself hasn’t moved from last year’s.

The Court of Commissioners accepted calculations performed by county Tax Assessor/Collector Karen Lane of 2020 rollback rate and effective tax rate, triggering a need for two public hearings on the 2020 proposed tax rate.

An effective tax rate is the hypothetical rate that would create the same revenue for the county as in the past year. A rollback rate is a calculation of the rate that would generate the same revenue as the prior year, with an added amount for increases in operations expense and interest.

At the court’s last meeting, July 22, commissioners agreed to hold the county tax rate to 55 cents per $100 valuation, which puts it in between the calculated rollback rate of 56.7 cents and effective rate of 49.4 cents per $100 valuation. A proposed rate falling between the two requires two public hearings for the next year’s tax rate.

Commissioners agreed Monday to hold those meetings at 9:30 a.m. on Aug. 26 and Aug. 29. Aug. 26 is the next regular County Commissioners meeting.

In other moves Monday, commissioners agreed to new rules of procedure, conduct and decorum for meetings of the court. The measure was handed down from the Texas Legislature, County Judge Tony Leago told commissioners.

“We’ve got one in place, but the wording has changed (in the new version),” he said.

The new policy retains a three-minute time limit for comment from any one person on an agenda item, but caps overall public comment for any matter to 30 minutes total. If more than 10 people wish to speak on an issue, the time will be divided evenly between all participants.

The new policy also sets a standard of “proper attire” for men, women and children, as well as bans profanity, insults or threatening behavior.

Additionally, it details that the court is not a “public forum for the demeaning of any individual or group,” including the court itself. Violators face cancellation of speaking time, removal from the meeting or citations/charges of contempt or other criminal statutes.

“I’m really glad the legislature put this in,” Leago said, embracing the rules of decorum.

Also Monday, commissioners renewed the county’s Road and Bridge Fee of $10 per vehicle registered in Madison County, but did not approve of a new $1.50-per-vehicle charge to establish a child safety fund.

“The fees for that are restricted in usage and we simply don’t have a place that fits it,” said Toni Joyner, county auditor.

The court also agreed to install Leago and Madisonville mayor Bill Parten to a three-year term beginning Oct. 1 to the Brazos Valley Council of Governments board of directors.