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      Randall county tax rate going up

      If you live in Randall county, expect to shell out a little more each year for your property taxes.

      After two public meetings, not one comment was made by the public, so county officials are ready to adopt the new rate.

      One of the main differences between the two counties that share Amarillo as their home, is industry. Potter county has the lion's share of industry over the two, while Randall county has only a handful of major industries. Because of that, the majority of taxable income that Randall county relies upon is from property taxes, according to Randall County Judge, Ernie Houdashell.

      "The total we have as taxable property is 17 million dollars...Potter county has 130 million dollars and we basically operate off Sales tax, ad valorem taxes, fines and fees."

      The majority of county funds are earmarked for emergency services...things like the sheriff's department and the fire department which was put through its paces last year. Now they budgeted for replacement and new equipment along with personnel.

      "67 cents of every dollar is the first line of defense for the criminal justice system, sheriff's department, juvenile justice system and we put on two new lieutenants and a new fireman, but we had to..cause we couldn't send out young firemen without leaders to go with them," says Houdashell..

      When all is said and done the new tax for a 100-thousand dollar home will be about 6 dollars more a year, or as Judge Houdashell puts it, about 2 pennies a day. And due to the fact not one person commented during the tax hearings over the last couple weeks, he hopes that's a sign people are happy with the way county business is being carried out.

      Houdashell added, "I think the Randall county commissioner's court operates in a prudent manner and I think the public appreciates it, but on the other hand its a tax increase you and I are going to pay for it."

      The official tax rate will be adopted next Tuesday during the regular county commissioners' meeting.