SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KETK) — The Smith County Commissioner’s Court voted unanimously to propose lowering the tax rate by half a cent. The proposed rate for the fiscal year 2023 would go down from 33.5 cents to 33 cents per $100 valuation.

Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran said the commissioners court will hold a public hearing on the proposed rate at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, August 23. The court will also plan a public hearing on the proposed FY23 budget at 5:30 p.m. on August 23.

The court will vote on adopting the proposed tax rate and budget in September, according to Moran. The city says they will not go into effect until Oct. 1. County officials say that the proposed tax rate is lower than FY22, even after absorbing the Road and Bridge Bond Phase 2 that was passed by voters in November.

The first portion of the bonds was sold during the commissioners court meeting on Tuesday.

“As you look at our tax rate over time, we are trying to stay the course and be good stewards of tax payers’ money,” Moran said at an earlier meeting. “Every dollar belongs to the taxpayer, and we must do our best to keep it as low as possible, while still fulfilling our statutory duties and providing the level of service the public expects.”

Moran has themed this year’s budget as: “Stay the Course.”

“Over the last six years, we have stayed the course on trying to make good budget decisions and looking strategically long-term,” Moran said. “When I became the judge in 2016, the tax rate was 33 cents. Because of fiscally responsible decisions made over the past six years, I am proud that we are going to end my tenure at that same rate while simultaneously increasing our funding for roads and bridges improvements by almost 3 cents.”

A proposed budget will be filed on or before Monday, August 15, and the commissioners court is scheduled to vote on the Fiscal Year 2023 budget on September 6.