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Bowie County Rollback Election To Be Set - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Bowie County Rollback Election To Be Set

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The Rollback Petition is valid. The Commissioners failed to act on the Petition within the 20 days allowed by State Law and as such, it automatically receives certification today. The next step is up to the Bowie County Commissioners Court to set the Rollback Election date.
 
Approximately 6,200 taxpayers signed the petition.  The Bowie County Elections Office performed a random sampling of signatures and found 92% to be valid registered voters. The requirement of 3,916 signatures was easily fulfilled.
 
Bowie County commissioners claimed they had not raised the property tax rate and called the rollback petition a "lie."
 
Commissioner Pat McCoy accused Bowie County Judge Sterling Lacy of "gross manipulation of the numbers" when the Judge alerted the public to the excessive tax increase and encouraged the taxpayers to start a petition campaign. But it turns out the State of Texas agrees with Judge Lacy: the tax rate approved by the commissioners did exceed the 8% rollback rate ceiling allowed by the state for the operational expenses of the county.  When the 8% allowable tax rate ceiling is exceeded the taxpayers have a right to petition for a rollback election.
 
The formula provided by the state puts Bowie County's recent tax increase at 16.87% in the operations side of the tax rate. The commissioners tried to disguise their tax increase by claiming it was not really a tax increase because the overall tax rate stayed the same as last year.
 
The point the commissioners would not concede was that when they levied a tax to pay off a debt, when they collected that tax, when they paid off that debt, that tax levy expired. Since the commissioners continued to levy and collect last year's tax rate this year, they created a tax rate increase for this year.
 
The commissioners got caught with their hand in the proverbial cookie jar. They slipped the expired tax levy for the debt service side of last year's budget into the operations side this year. That is exactly the kind of covert behavior that the Truth in Taxation laws are designed to expose to the public.
 
Now that ,"It's a lie", will not work any longer the commissioners have changed their tune. Now they are bemoaning the county budget losing about $500,000 in revenue. The exact amount is $548,177. The county should never have extracted that money from the taxpayers' pocketbooks in the first place. Judge Lacy's proposed budget would have left that $548,177 in the hands of the taxpayers. His budget did not exceed the state's 8% limit and it provided almost $400,000 more than the commissioners' budget to build up the Reserve Fund.
 
This is the second year in a row the commissioners have rejected the proposed budget assembled during months of detailed work by the county judge and the county auditor. The results have been disastrous.
 
Through the Rollback Election the Bowie County taxpayers will have the opportunity to force the Bowie County commissioners to lower their taxes. This is literally a once in a lifetime opportunity. This is representative government at its best.

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