Process is done annually by JWC Appraisal District

Christopher Maher, Jim Wells County Correspondent

The Jim Wells County Appraisal District will return $63,450 in surplus funds from the 2006 budget to local taxing entities, officials announced Friday.

The surplus funds will be returned as part of an annual process in which the district returns money not used in the previous year's budget.

The total surplus discovered during the annual audit, conducted by Raul Hernandez, C.P.A., was $122,590.

Of that money, $59,140 was transferred to the appraisal district's capital improvements fund, and the remaining $63,450 will be returned to the 12 taxing entities in the county.

Fernandez presented his audit to the appraisal district's board of directors Friday, and said it was a "clean opinion," with no negative findings.

Chief Appraiser J. Sidney Vela also presented the board of directors with the year-to-date summary of the collection of taxes for each of the districts.

According to information presented by the board, the entity with the highest collection rate is La Gloria Independent School District, which has collected 96 percent of its tax levy.

Other strong performers were the Alice Independent School District, 94 percent; the City of Alice, 93 percent; the Alice Water Authority, 93 percent; Premont Independent School District, 93 percent; and Jim Wells County, 92 percent.

Average performers were the Emergency Services District, 90 percent; Ben Bolt-Palito Blanco Independent School District, 90 percent; the City of Orange Grove, 89 percent; and the Orange Grove Independent School District.

The lowest collection rates were for the Fresh Water District, 83 percent; and the City of Premont, 80 percent.

Vela also presented the 2007 certified values to the appraisal district board, which included the values for all taxable property in the county for each taxing entity.

Most taxing entities experienced moderate growth in certified values this year, which should increase the amount of revenue available to those entities.

Jim Wells County had the highest total net taxable value, at $1.4 billion, compared to $1.2 billion in 2006. The City of Alice and the Alice Water Authority saw the sharpest increase in taxable values, with increases of 17 percent each, while Ben Bolt-Palito Blanco ISD saw a decrease of more than 10 percent.

Other entities that saw a decline in certified values include the City of Premont, Premont ISD and Jim Wells County Fresh Water Service District.

All certified values include real estate, personal property and mineral property.

In other business, Vela presented the proposed 2008 budget to the board of directors Friday.

That budget estimates expenditures of $1,178,077 by the district in 2008, a 3.2 percent increase over the 2007 budget. A public hearing on the proposed budget is scheduled for Aug. 15.