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Commissioners Cut Proposed Property Tax Rate, Restore Sheriff Positions

Judge Wolff during budget debate on Friday.png
Screen shot from live stream of county budget meeting
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Texas Public Radio
County Judge Nelson Wolff opens meeting on Friday on amendments to county's 2,8 billion dollar budget

Bexar County Commissioners voted Friday to reduce the proposed property tax rate to support the county's $2.8 billion budget to 29 cents per hundred dollar valuation. It now stands at 30 cents.

The property tax cut only means a savings of around $4 a year for an average homeowner, according to County Manager David Smith.

Commissioner Justin Rodriguez was the most vocal against it because he said it did not offer real tax relief and was more about the next election.

He also said the county has some pressing needs, such as more funding for the Children's Court, which has seen a big jump in cases during the pandemic.

"I hate to put in that context, but we're basically making the choice today to give back citizens four dollars," he said.

Trish DeBerry said she has been supportive of the courts. She has been pressing commissioners to do something for property taxpayers.

"I think it's time to offer relief to the taxpayer in some way, form or fashion. Period. The end," she said.

Commissioner Rebeca Clay-Flores also voted no on the property tax cut.

County Judge Nelson Wolff and Commissioner Tommy Calvert joined DeBerry in voting for the property tax cut.

Commissioners also voted to double a one-time lump sum payment to hourly county workers to $2,000, as proposed by Commissioner Rebeca Clay-Flores.

They also voted to restore 12 deputy positions to the sheriff's department, all dedicated to patrol work, and they kept the 12 positions previously promised to constable offices.

Sheriff Javier Salazar called the vote a "win" after DeBerry pointed it out it was never about "defunding," but rather "re-allocation." Lopez used the term "defunding" in a letter to
commissioners opposing the move.

Commissioners also approved more funding for court personnel with increases in domestic violence cases and cases involving children.

The tax rate and budget will not be formally voted on by commissioners until after a public hearing on Tuesday.

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