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How Bills Will Effect Counties

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Brazos County is hearing about how the end of the 2005 legislative session will affect operations. And much like with city governments, counties won't be hit with too many new changes.

Brazos County Clerk Marc Hamlin is taking a leading role with lawmakers in Austin. While the 79th legislative session has come to an end, Hamlin's job isn't done just yet. As president-elect for the Texas Association of Counties, he had, and continues to have, a strong voice in Austin.

" There were several bills that could have effected counties that we ran interference on or that we tried to testify on to educate the legislators on exactly the impact that it would have," said Hamlin.

One of those bills, which failed, is House Bill 106 which placed a three percent cap on appraisals and tax rates, which Hamlin says would have drastically cut county funds and have a negative effect on the services it provides.

" It's just not a cookie cutter effect that can work across the state of Texas. You look at Brazos County, it's growing now. The appraisals are going to go up simply because the appraised values of the properties are going up," said Hamlin.

County Judge Randy Sims says County Commisioners don't have too much to complain about either, but there is concern about House Bill 2438, which is still on Governor Perry's desk. The bill would allow mobile home manufacturers to repossess homes whose owners are delinquent on their property taxes. It leaves the county with no way to collect back property taxes.

" It's just not right that everybody else has to pay taxes in Brazos County. Why should these be taken off and exempt from bringing the taxes up to speed," said Judge Sims.

The county's tax assessor collector, Buddy Winn is in Austin trying to persuade Governor Perry to veto the measure.

Just like with cities, county officials say they are happy that many of the ways they do business will remain the same.

" I think we came out fairly well," said Judge Sims.