County tax rate remains the same as last year
Johnson County commissioners Monday adopted a rate of 0.472000, or 47-cents, per $100 property valuation for the tax rate for 2019. It’s the same rate as last year.
The unanimous vote followed a public hearing on the budget.
Increased mineral rights and property values resulted in commissioners being able to keep the tax rate the same while still providing salary raises for all county employees, including a $4,500 increase for members of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office (plus 4 percent of their current salary) and another 2 percent to be used at the discretion of Sheriff Adam King for salary adjustments.
All other county employees will receive a $2,000 raise plus 4 percent of their current salary.
Concerns about water
During the announcements and presentations portion of the agenda, representatives of Prairielands Groundwater Conservation District said the court’s vote to restrict one residential water well per two acres was a good idea.
“We’re looking at staying with the two-acre tract (throughout the district),” said Brian Sledge of the Sledge Law Group of Austin, attorneys for Prairielands.
The Prairielands Groundwater Conservation District was created in 2009 by the 81st Texas Legislature with a directive to conserve, protect and enhance the groundwater resources of Johnson, Ellis, Hill and Somervell counties after the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality designated the area as one expected to experience critical groundwater problems.
The PGCD has established goals as it develops rules for managing the use of groundwater, Sledge said.
Those rules are: to be lawful, to tailor the rules to the situation in each of the four counties, to cause the least disruption possible to well owners and continued growth, to protect the private property rights of existing will owners and future well owners, and to create no permits, meters or pumping fees for household wells.
The purpose of well-spacing rules is an attempt to limit a pumping wells impact on other wells, Sledge said, and well-spacing rules are generally not intended to regulate total amount of pumping from a well or manage the entire aquifer.
Instead, Sledge said, well-spacing rules keep wells spaced from each other and from the property line to minimize harmful effects between wells on each other.
“We want to be able to meet the future water needs of our county,” County Judge Roger Harmon said. “Do we need to consider a three-acre minimum?”
Although Wise County is considering a five-acre minimum, the two-acre tract is good, Sledge replied.
In other business, commissioners appointed Sam Walls of Cleburne to the Johnson County Historical Commission and Polly Lee to the Johnson County Child Welfare Board.
Commissioners also approved an interlocal agreement for housing Class C misdemeanor offenses for Grandview, Joshua and Venus, and for providing dispatch services for the Keene Police Department and the city of Joshua.
Watch court Online
Readers can watch court proceedings online at www.johnsoncountytx.org. Navigate on the tool bar to Commissioners Court and scroll down to “Meeting Video.” Click on “Commissioners Court.”
The next scheduled meeting of the Johnson County Commissioners Court is 9 a.m. Friday, Oct. 5, in Room 201 of the Johnson County Courthouse in Cleburne. Note that this is a change from the usual second and fourth Monday of the month schedule.