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Columns July 11, 2017  RSS feed

From the Desk of the County Judge

County Judge Byron Ryder

Well summer is here and the days continue to get hotter. At least we have been blessed with summer showers, but we all know this can stop at any time and we will enter into not only HOT but DRY weather patterns. Always be careful when burning even when we are not in a Burn Ban.

The 2017-2018 budget process has been underway for several months and we continue to have budget meetings and discussion on how we can maintain services with less money. Many business in our area dealing with the oil and gas have closed and all businesses depend on this traffic to some degree. Without thriving business our county budget as well as our cities budgets suffer. We can only hope that the oil industry will pick up on our area in the near future. This down turn in the economy is one reason why our EXPO Center is important. Most all weekends are booked for the rest of 2017 and many dates into 2018 and 2019. This brings people into our area to stay at our hotels, buy gas at our stations and eat at our restaurants. This helps our businesses continue to thrive and brings much needed sales tax revenue to our cities and county.

The High Speed Rail Project is still something that we are working to STOP. There is NO stop planned for our county and we fail to see how this would benefit our citizens.

The only thing we get out of it is a 200 plus mile an hour dividing our county to get people from Dallas to Houston in 90 minutes. We are fighting this locally and on the State level through the TEXANS AGAINST THE HIGH SPEED RAIL organization who by the way takes donations to help fight this cause.

If you watch the Texas News at all, you know we are about to enter into a Special Session of the Texas legislature on July 18, 2017. The House of Representatives has worked very hard to protect the rights of counties and keep control at the local level. The House overwhelmingly passed property tax relief in House Bill 21 which simplified the complex formulas for allocating money to schools and proposed lifting the $1.6 billion burden off the property taxpayer’s backs, BUT the Senate rejected the bill. At this time the Senate does not have the same attitude and wants more state control by creating a 51.1 billion reduction in state funding for schools which will more than likely mean property tax increases at the local levels. We see them passing down to the local level many unfunded mandates and the Senate seems to really be trying to hurt our school districts and teaches. It is very important that you stay informed and participate when possible. The decision made in this special session will have an impact on local control and your pocket book especially in school tax funding or lack of it.

Please keep up with all of the current events and information about your county on our Leon County website www. co.leon.tx.us. Be informed and be involved. My door is always open and I appreciate any new ideas or help you may offer. Have a safe summer!

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