County Commissioners approve 4.7 percent property tax increase


Last Updated on September 30, 2015 – 8:51 AM CDT

Above: The Moore County Commissioners Court on Monday recognized John Johnson who recently retired after working for Moore County for 36 years. From left, Commissioner Milton Pax, Moore County Judge Rowdy Rhoades, Johnson, Moore County Road & Bridge Supervisor Wes McDougal, Commissioner Daniel Garcia and Commissioner Lynn Cartrite.

Except for the item to adjourn, the Moore County Commissioners Court’s agenda on Monday appeared daunting with its 31 action items, but the commissioners made quick work of it, including the approval of $319,302 in purchases and a 4.7 percent increase in the 2015 property tax rate.

The Moore County Sheriff’s Department will buy three pickup trucks for $119,842.33, and Road & Bridge will buy a chip spreader for $176,000. The commissioners also approved the purchase of three routers for the Moore County Library for $4,497, which will come out of the library’s operating capital improvements budget. The Moore County Clerk’s Office will use $12,742 out of its election budget to buy five desks and $6,221.97 out of the current budget to replace all the network cables and other updates to improve computer performance.

The commissioners also voted to reduce Moore County Attorney Scott Higginbotham’s salary supplement from $25,000 to $5,000 in order to fund the compensation for an additional assistant district attorney. That person will work with Higginbotham and District Attorney David Green. Higginbotham’s salary supplement came from a portion of the salary of the recently retired county attorney’s investigator, a position Higginbotham chose not to fill.

The property tax rate will be $0.467517 per $100 valuation, raising taxes on a $100,000 home by about $20.78. The tax hike will fund maintenance and operations.

The commissioners spent little time discussing the agenda’s other items and quickly moved through them. They include:

  • Recognizing John Johnson’s retirement after working for Moore County for 36 years.
  • Approving a request from Faria Land Company to place a 12-inch water line under County West Road E. The company agreed to blacktop the road after the placement of the water line and maintain it, and they will have to encase the line with steel casing.
  • Approved a request from ClearTalk Wireless to lease space on the tower on Meredith Avenue. Moore County Sheriff Bo DeArmond told the commissioners it won’t interfere with any of the department’s communication equipment on the tower.
  • Approved the appointment of James Patrick Duffy and Molly Galloway to the Killgore Memorial Library’s board for three-year terms.
  • Approved the transfer of Jace Delgado from Moore County Courthouse security to a deputy with the Moore County Sheriff’s Department. He will be paid $22.57 an hour.
  • Amend the 2014-2015 budget. The Moore County Journal will have a follow-up story on the budget as soon as the budget is made available.
  • Approve a 3 percent salary increase for all full- and part-time Moore County employees for fiscal 2015-2016.
  • Approved an increase from $100 to $150 per month for travel expenses for Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 and Justice of the Peace Precinct 2.
  • Approved a change in the mileage reimbursement for Moore County employees to 57.5 cents per mile.
  • Approved the 2015 property tax rate for Amarillo College Moore County Campus. The rate will be $0.05 per $100 valuation, which is the cap rate for Amarillo College and is below the calculated 2015 effective and rollback rates.
  • Approved the appointments to the Dumas Rodeo Arena Committee. They are Paul Jenkins, three-year term; Mike running, two-year term; William Darcy, three-year term; John Robinett, two-year term; Kit Dawson, three-year term; Misty Stroebel, two-year term; R’Nae Bonke, three-year term; Randy Cross, two-year term, Brian Friese, three-year term and Moore County Extension Agent Marcel Fischbacher and Moore County Commissioner Milton Pax.
  • Approved an interlocal agreement between the city of Sunray and Moore County for the Sunray Rodeo Arena.
  • Approved a resolution and joint election agreement between Moore County and the Sunray Independent School District for the Moore County Clerk to conduct an SISD special bond election on Nov. 3.
  • Approved a lease agreement between Moore County and SISD for election equipment.