District tax rate may not change; property values increase

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Trustees will vote on the proposed tax rate at a meeting Aug. 15 in Killen.

By Zachary-Taylor Wright

zwright9@student.alamo.edu

The board of trustees viewed a presentation recommending the district maintain the tax rate from fiscal year 2017 in 2018 at the committee of the whole meeting Aug. 8 at Killen Center.

According to the Alamo Colleges website, the district has maintained the same combined tax rate of $0.149150 per $100 of taxable assessed value since 2012 by adjusting the maintenance and operations rate to accommodate the debt rate.

The average property value in Bexar County has increased $51,479 since 2012, according to district Treasurer Tracey Bedwell’s presentation.

Bedwell proposed that the district maintain the 2017 tax ratio of $0.107760 per $100 of taxable assessed value maintenance and operation rate and the $0.41390 per $100 of taxable assessed value debt rate in FY 2018.

The 2018 fiscal year runs Sept. 1, 2017, to Aug. 31, 2018.

According to Bedwell’s presentation, the average homeowner will pay $290.31 to the Alamo Colleges in FY 2018 if the tax rate is approved, which is up $17.53 from FY 2017.

Bedwell said there are a record number of appeals to the Bexar County Appraisal District at 102,000; her presentation to the board said the appeals represent $74.4 billion of taxable value.

Dr. Diane Snyder, vice chancellor for finance and administration, said the FY 2018 budget was conservative in the predicted increase in taxable valuation to accommodate the high number of appeals.

Bedwell’s presentation estimated a 6.9 percent increase in taxable assessed value, but Snyder said the budget allocated for a 6 percent increase in response to the high number of appeals.

Bedwell said the taxable values are fluid and constantly changing and are contingent on appeals.

According to Bedwell’s presentation, the valuation of the average home in the county has increased $12,749 since FY 2017, reaching an average price of $195,640.

Bedwell said the district must hold a public hearing to announce the proposed tax rate because tax revenue will increase, even though the district is not increasing the tax rate.

According to the presentation, any adopted tax rate that exceeds the rollback or the effective rate must be announced in two public hearings, in several print advertisements and on the district website.

Tax rates are broken into two parts, including the maintenance and operation tax rate, which is used for upkeep and salaries, and the debt rate, which is used to pay back bonds and interest.

The effective tax rate is the last tax year’s tax revenue divided by the current year’s taxable assessed value, excluding any new property.

The effective rate decreases when property values increase.

In an interview with The Ranger Aug. 14, Snyder said the process of calculating the effective rate is complicated, and her team has been trying to match the tax assessor’s numbers for seven years for budget predictions.

The rollback rate is the effective rate with 8 percent added to the maintenance and operation portion of the rate.

The board will vote on the proposed tax rate and authorize Snyder to schedule the public hearings and notices required by the Texas Property Tax Code at the board meeting at 6 p.m. Aug. 15 at Killen Center.

According to the tax planning calendar, the first public hearing will be Sept. 5-7.

In an interview with The Ranger after the Aug. 8 committee meeting, Snyder said the district has experienced little turnout at previous tax rate public hearings.

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