Today the Community Luncheon took place at the Dorothy Garrett Coliseum. There Howard County Judge Kathryn Wiseman spoke on the State of the County and Mayor Larry McLellan presented the City Address.
During Judge Wiseman's presentation she spoke briefly on each of the county departments giving a brief description of what they all do for the county. While explaining what each department does, Judge Wiseman pointed out that the Howard County Tax Appraisal office gets their instructions from the Texas Comptroller who is Glenn Hegar. He is the elected person who influences the property taxes and the tax appraisal values and encouraged everyone to contact him about their property tax concerns. She also complimented the law enforcement agencies of Howard County and Big Spring for being able to work together, thus resulting in saving tax payers money.
Judge Wiseman also addressed the fact that the Texas Legislature have not been supporting their share of the funding for education and continue to reduce their funding. Instead, they have been pushing the cost of funding education onto the shoulders of the property tax owners. Originally, the agreement was that the local property tax payers would furnish 45% of the funding for education. Unfortunately, 61% of the property tax dollar is used to fund education. She also advised that the county is very frugal with the tax payers money because they recognize that the money that they use comes directly from local residents, and that they are reluctant in raising property taxes.
Judge Wiseman requested everyone to ask state government to pay their share of education funding. The agreement, originally, said that the state and local government would each cover 45% of the funding, but the state is only paying 36% of the education bill. Recently, the state passed legislation to push back another 7.5% of the expense back onto property taxes over the next 3 years.
When Mayor McLellan took the stage, he spoke about a few of the projects for the City of Big Spring such as the initiation of the construction of the N. HWY 87 reliever route that is still in progress, and about the upcoming completion of the Historic Spring Restoration Project. He also mentioned that the city is in the middle of the predevelopment phase of the Downtown Plaza, which will extend from the Big Spring Municipal Auditorium down to Settles Hotel.