By Will Johnson
HOUSTON COUNTY – The Houston County Commissioners Court received both good and bad news during a regularly scheduled meeting held on Tuesday, June 26.
First, the bad news.
County Judge Jim Lovell informed the court a letter had been received by the County Treasurer’s office from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts stating Houston County had been overpaid $35,148.83 in local sales and use taxes.
“They overpaid us. That’s what happened and we have no choice but to pay them back,” the judge said. “But, we do have some options. Is there a discount for paying this all at one time?”
County Auditor Melissa Mosley replied yes, there was a two percent discount if the debt was paid in full.
“You’re right,” Mosley said, “nor did we know what this was for. When we get a sales tax check, we don’t have the detailed information. That is confidential information. We have had this happen from time to time between Houston County and Harris County. When businesses submit their sales tax – it’s all done online – sometimes they pick the wrong county.”
The comptroller’s letter stated, “A taxpayer incorrectly reported local tax for a business location that is in another taxing jurisdiction. Since the local tax has been reallocated to the correct taxing jurisdiction, it must now be repaid to the State by Houston County.”
A motion was made, seconded and approved to fully reimburse the state with a “one-time” check.
Now, the good news.
Before the meeting concluded, Mosley addressed the court and informed the commissioners FEMA funds should soon be disbursed to the county.
“The grand total is $692,000 which we will be getting from FEMA,” she said.
Mosley added because of an underestimate on labor and equipment on the county’s part, there would be what she termed a prior period adjustment.
“This isn’t a huge deal but it will increase your fund balance. It is just putting the money in the fund balance for when you earned it rather than rolling it all into 2017,” Mosley said.
In other matters brought before the court:
- The commissioners approved the minutes from previous meetings.
- The payment of bills and expenses incurred by the county were approved.
- The Houston County Treasurer’s report and Compensatory report were received as information by the commissioners.
- The salary of a new intake clerk in the district attorney’s office was approved.
- The court declined to accept the donation of a storage building from the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, citing structural issues.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.