Commissioners discuss combining county library with college

By: 
Amanda Elston
Managing Editor

With the possibility of the state cutting the current roll back tax rate by a half, Howard County Commissioner Craig Bailey proposed to discuss a possible inter-local agreement between Howard College and the county to combine library services during Monday afternoon’s county commissioner meeting. The roll back rate, drafted SB 2 by Houston Senator Paul Bettencourt, would lower the property tax rollback rate from 8 percent to 4 percent over the effective tax rate. The bill was drafted after Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick charged a special Senate committee last session to come up with a way to solve rising property taxes. During Monday’s meeting, Bailey proposed to discuss at a later date a shared library between the college and the county due to the possible lack of funding if the bill passes.
“The college is mandated by the state to have a library and this would give us an opportunity given the lack of funding,” said Bailey. “We are in a situation going forward that the third item on (Patrick’s) list is to roll back the rate from 8 percent to 4 percent. It is prudent to look at this and to preserve our library moving forward and to deliver this service to the public.”
The inter-local agreement was to be discussed at Monday’s meeting but was postponed by Bailey and tabled for a later date. Bailey encouraged those in attendance to contact local representatives concerning the bill.
Commissioners passed a resolution to stand in solidarity with the local court and clerks in opposition to a state-mandated e-filing system. The system, hosted by efiletexas.gov, makes court records available to lawyers and the public for a fee, paid to efiletexas.gov, rather than the county. District Clerk Colleen Barton was also concerned about case information that would be readily available to the general public including information about minors.
“There would be no way to expunge a case,” sad Barton. “Information would just be out there.”

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