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Hempstead County Quorum Court

By Stephanie Harris Smith , 12/19/19 8:37 PM

Hemstead Quorum court met to pass the county budget Thursday night. The quorum court treasurer said they spent three or four long nights working on it and said thank you to everyone for help and cooperation. The big changes from last year were due to health insurance . Most areas of the budget remained the same. Significant changes were seen in the sheriff’s offices budget. They expressed thanks to Sheriff James Singleton for helping get it down. Singleton said they have been sending out letters to collect fines that have not been paid . These letters express that if fines aren’t paid that it will be collected through income tax. He said most people will come on in and pay if they they think they will have problems receiving thier tax refunds.There was discussion on if the county employees would receive Christmas bonuses. It was voted that they will have a $250 — to $500 bonus.The court also was in agreement that they wanted to get away from bonuses each year to increasing base salaries. With the courthouse funding being a big topic, the court said they want to hold town meetings to clear up confusion any concerns about the new courthouse. The extension offices have prepared a layout detailing every aspect of the courthouse and tax situation. They are looking at proposing a 24 month county wide sales tax increase. The court was in agreement that misinformation and possibly miscalculations from 2018 lead them to believe they had money to use that they” simply didnt have”. Other factors played in as well. But the justices of peace were in 100 percent agreement that they want to be completely open with the public on all factors due to the new courthouse and disposal of the old courthouse .They were in agreement that they have a challenging year ahead but are in full awareness of their responsibilities to the public on this matter.