Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Alice Echo-News Journal

Jim Wells County commissioners will continue to discuss the 2008 proposed budget, which includes more than $400,000 in departmental requests to be considered, along with a salary grievance committee recommendation at the regularly scheduled court meeting Monday morning at 10 a.m.

Jim Wells County Commissioners decided last week to stay at the proposed effective tax rate of $0.6580 for the 2008 proposed county budget. The effective tax rate is the rate necessary to collect the same amount of tax revenue as last year. Last year's tax rate was $0.7058.

The general fund budget requests include increases in salaries, and an across the board five percent cost of living increase.

County officials said there is currently $1.5 million in reserves, with $323,000 expected to be left in the budget at the end of 2008, which could be put into reserves.

After adjusting incoming revenue using the effective tax rate, general fund revenue and projected sales tax funds are expected to exceed $600,000, which could go towards the department requests and the county reserves.

County officials are also discussing plans of directing some of that sales tax revenue into the road and bridge fund, to help the county's ailing roads and rework the distribution formula with updated county mileage estimates and household population numbers.

The final vote on both the tax rate and the budget will take place later this month.

The commissioners will also discuss and consider a recommendation from the salary grievance committee to increase Justice of the Peace Sylvia Johnson's salary by $4,000 to $32,000.