Hal Richards

Outgoing Kaufman County Judge Hal Richards voted against reducing taxes and a budget that his office created, based on a study he had commissioned, during the Sep. 20 Commissioner's Court meeting. Richards vacates his office at the end of December.

KAUFMAN COUNTY, TEXAS — Kaufman County Commissioner’s met and approved a new budget and lower tax rate for the coming fiscal year.

With a 3-2 vote, Commissioners voted to adopt the proposed Fiscal Year 2022-23 County Budget and tax rate at its regular meeting on Tuesday, September 20, 2022.

The tax rate was set at 0.416262 per $100 valuation, a reduction from last year’s tax rate of 0.461171 per $100 valuation or savings of .05 cents.

Kaufman County Commissioners’ Court has decreased the property tax rate of the past 5 years from 0.5887 in FY19 to 0.4162 per $100 valuation for FY23.

Commissioners Mike Hunt, Pct. 1, Skeet Phillips, Pct. 2, and Terry Barber, Pct. 3 voted to adopt the proposed budget and tax rate, while outgoing County Judge Hal Richards and lame duck Commissioner Ken Cates, Pct. 4 voted against the reduced tax rate.

The new budget will raise more property taxes than last year’s budget by $5.8 million (9.04%) all of which is comes from new properties added to the tax rolls.

The new budget also includes raises for numerous county employees, elected officials and law enforcement.

“We are grateful to our commissioners who prioritize the contributions of all of our county law enforcement and investing in them accordingly,” Sherriff Bryan Beavers told inForney.com.

“To try to become competitive and retain good law enforcement, they have to be paid accordingly. Collectively we got everything that we needed to ensure that our citizens remain safe and our departments are prepared for the growth and challenges ahead. It is obvious which commissioners truly stand behind law enforcement.”

The raises in compensation came from a salary study commissioned by County Judge Hal Richards last year. According to court records obtained by inForney.com, Kaufman County spent over $38,000 on the study to look at how Kaufman County employees’ compensation compared to 11 other public sector peers.

“We used the Evergreen Study to determine which positions were short of the proposed midpoint,” Judge Richards said.

In most cases, Kaufman County employee salaries fell short of the midpoint range for their job descriptions.

A complete copy of the adopted budget is available here.

With property evaluations that have risen between 15-20% this year alone; Kaufman County tax payers can still expect a small savings on their tax bill.