Monday, Palo Pinto County commissioners adopted the tax rate and approved the budget for the upcoming year. The tax rate approved by commissioners is 35.2 cents per $100 of assessed property value, a 6.5 percent increase of last year's rate of 33.2 cents. "Increasing cost of operating your county has necessitated an increase of 2 cents per $100 valuation in your property taxes for 2013," said County Judge David Nicklas. "We, as a county, experience the same cost increases each county resident experiences and, despite diligent attempts by your county commissioners and county judge, we have not been able to cut these costs enough to prevent this increase." He explained that courthouse security has been upgraded by adding a full time deputy and the implementation of additional electronic measures. "Over the years we have patched the existing elevator to the point we felt that it would be more cost effective to replace it than continue repairing it on a nearly annual basis," he continued. In addition, he said commissioners anticipate beginning a courthouse electrical upgrade in order to meet national electrical codes and help prevent damages that could occur. "Most of these improvements have been discussed over the years and the court opted to delay them," the judge said. "We feel that now is the most opportune time to address these issues that have existed for a number of years." Nicklas said the tax increase would amount to about $10 in additional taxes for every $50,000 of assessed property value. "Additionally, if you are 65 years old or older and have a homestead exemption on your property, your taxes will not increase, unless you have made improvements to your homestead," he concluded. This year's proposed general revenue budget is just over $7.83 million, up from last year's budget of nearly $7 million. Total revenues are projected at nearly $11.5 million and total expenditures are projected to be over $11.51 million.