More than two dozen people took the podium during the second County Commissioners public hearing on a tax increase. While many gave reasons for or against the tax hike, the topic once again turned to County Judge Tom Head's comments about the possibility of civil unrest and United Nation's troops invading Lubbock County if President Obama is re-elected.
For more than an hour, Lubbock County residents addressed the County Commissioners giving their reasons in support of or against the tax increase. "I don't work for Lubbock County, but I have worked with the deputies, and with the prosecutors," a Peace Officer said. "It's their time to get a pay increase. It's their time to get more deputies out on the streets to do the job they need to do."
Others were completely against the tax increase. "I am fully and completely in opposition to the tax increase. The reasons that have been given to me, I do not believe justify it," a concern citizen said.
When the tax increase was first proposed by County Commissioners they said the tax hike was to help provide more money for the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office, as well as salary increases to attract more qualified attorneys in the District Attorney's Office. That reasoning was quickly lost as the debate turned once again to Judge Head's comments.
Some agreed that the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office needs more money for their patrols and equipments, as well as salary increases for people in the District Attorney's Office. Others said they were against the tax hike because they felt the increase wasn't justified, especially during hard economic times and families being on fixed incomes.
Many criticized Head saying they were initially for the tax increase until his comments – now they no longer trust the tax money will go toward what they were promised.
Others took Head's side and agreed with the tax increase.
"I really think Judge Head's remarks sucked the air out the room in terms of being able to discuss the budget in a rational manner," Lubbock County Democratic Chair Kenny Ketner said.
Ultimately it will be up to the County Commissioners on whether to raise the taxes. There will be another public hearing on September 10th at 10:30a.m. After the hearing the County Commissioners will vote to approve the budget and adopt the tax rate to support it.
"It's unfortunate that we had these distractions through all this because we do have some very definite needs within our law enforcement and within our DA's Office," County Commissioner Patti Jones said.
On Friday County Commissioners will make the proposed county budget available online on the county website.
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