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BCRAGD proposes hiking tax rate

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

The board of directors of the Bandera County River Authority and Groundwater District approved a proposed budget with total expenditures of $594,268 for the 2013-14 fiscal year at a called meeting held Thursday, August 15.
To fund that proposed budget, the district will need a tax rate of $0.028058/$100, an increase of 7.91 percent over last year's rate. The proposed rate would increase the average taxable value from $149,491 to $149,616.
The River Authority will hold a public hearing on the tax rate, followed by a public hearing on the proposed budget at 9 am Thursday, Sept. 5, at the district's offices at 440 FM 3240 in Bandera. Those public hearings will be followed by a called meeting of the district's board to vote on the proposed tax rates and budget.
A significant addition to the budget is $18,500 for premiums for a group health insurance plan. General Manager David Mauk explained that the district's employees have not received raises for several years. They did receive a stipend to use for their own health insurance. "They will keep that stipend in their salaries," said Mauk, "but it's time we offer this benefit to our employees."
Attorney fees jumped from $9,250 this year to $12,000 budgeted for next year.
Monitoring and consulting services dropped from $28,600 to $4,297 since 2014 will not be a legislative year and there will be no need to hire a lobbyist.
Some new line items in the budget included $50,000 for the LiDAR mapping project which will yield new maps generated by the latest technology. The maps will have practical application in determining flood plains and more. An additional $9,000 was budgeted for the ARC and GIS related to the project.
Mauk also added in $1,000 on a line item to be used for education about the invasive weed Arundo donax, a water guzzling cane-like grass that is making inroads all through the district.
An additional $1,500 is earmarked for a litter abatement program.
The proposed budget is available for the public to see at the BCRAGD offices, or call them at 830-796-7260 and arrange to have a copy emailed.

"We're always willing to answer any questions our constituents might have about the budget, or any issues involving the River Authority," said Mauk.