The budget and the tax rate for Pinehurst will be approved during the month of September. The City Council approved the dates Tuesday for public hearings on the budget and the tax rate.
There will be two hearings on the proposed tax rate of $0.71393 per $100 value. The first will be Tuesday, August 27, and the second will be Tuesday, September 10. A public hearing on the budget will be held as part of the regular monthly meeting, which was rescheduled for Tuesday, September 17. Both the budget and the tax rate will be approved at that meeting by the council.
The municipal employees will have their insurance remain with the Texas Municipal League (TML) and the Principal Financial Group. Liz McKee with TK Health Insurance went out for bids for health, dental, and life insurance to cover the employees. McKee informed the council that Mutual of Omaha actually had the lowest bid by about $600. She still recommended TML and Principal because of their history of providing consistently low cost insurance for the employees.
City Secretary Debbie Cormier echoed McKee also recommending staying with the same two companies. Cormier believes the low bidder might be making a low offer now to get the contract with no guarantee against a big jump in the cost for the following year.
A Memorandum of Understanding between the city and the West Orange-Cove Consolidated Independent School District Police Department was approved by the council. The agreement was recommended by Pinehurst Police Chief Fred Hanauer. The Pinehurst Police will handle calls for service when the school district’s police officers are not available.
An application for placing a manufactured home on property at 934 28th Street was approved by the City Council. Code Enforcement Officer Harry Vine recommended approving the application by Gailen Hood who is the nephew of City Administrator Robbie Hood.
The Pinehurst City Council had a special guest at its meeting Tuesday evening. County Judge John Gothia was invited by Hood to speak to the council about his plans for Orange County and Pinehurst specifically. The judge spoke on wanting to keep taxes down and increasing economic development.
Gothia did some research to show how economic development will keep taxes down for the citizens in the county. He checked tax records back to 1958 when DuPont, Gulf, and Firestone opened plants in the county. The tax records show the county tax rate has been reduced from $1.28 to the current $0.542.
A change the judge hopes to see is a shift in the burden of the taxes. Gothia said in Orange County the bulk of the taxes are on the citizens and not businesses or industry. In neighboring Jefferson County, the burden is just the opposite.
Gothia suggested, “If we can grow these businesses then that should start shifting that down to where we can keep our citizens’ rate as low as we can, and we look for that to continue in the future.” Gothia promised that he and the Commissioners Court would do everything possible to attract industry and businesses to Orange County.