Bexar County resident questions ACCD tax rate

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Retired teacher John Howard speaks out during the citizens to be heard portion of the special board meeting on the proposed tax increase Sept. 6 at Killen. Howard told board members that his property tax increased 119 percent in the last five years, which he was not happy with. The board will vote on the proposed tax rate on Sept. 19 at Killen. Deandra Gonzalez

The board will have second tax hearing Sept. 12 and a tax vote Sept. 19.

By Zachary-Taylor Wright

zwright9@student.alamo.edu

A resident of this city opposed the Alamo Colleges’ board of trustees’ proposed tax rate at the public hearing on tax increase Sept. 6 at Killen Center.

During the citizens-to-be-heard portion of the tax hearing, retired teacher John Howard, who lives on Sheridan Street and walked to Killen Center for the meeting, expressed his disapproval for a tax increase in the district.

Howard said his property taxes and property valuations have increased 119 percent over the past five years.

“Now, you’re going to say, ‘well, you’re lucky. You just happen to live in a wealthy neighborhood,’ or something,” Howard said. “But the whole city, the whole county, has had tremendous increase in property values. We’ve also had a huge amount of construction, new stuff. So, I see absolutely no reason for a tax increase. You’re getting a windfall.”

He said he has been paying indirect taxes to this district since 1959 and direct taxes to this district since 1983.

He said his taxes have increased 24 percent a year since 2012.

District 1trustee Joe Alderete asked Dr. Diane Snyder, vice chancellor for finance and administration, to explain that the tax rate is not increasing.

Snyder said the district is not proposing a tax rate increase, but the district would receive more money from the same tax rate because the taxable assessed value of property within the district has increased.

According to the Alamo Colleges website, the district has maintained the same property tax rate since 2012.

According to a presentation shown to the board from district Treasurer Tracy Bedwell at the committee of the whole meeting Aug. 8, the average property value in Bexar County has increased $51,479 since 2012.

District 3 trustee Anna Bustamante asked why the agenda said “tax increase” if the tax rate was not changing.

Alderete explained this was the required wording for the public hearing.

In an interview with The Ranger after the board meeting, Howard said he was not aware the tax rate was not increasing because the only publication he saw stated there was notice of a tax increase.

“If they’re (the district) getting a windfall from property tax increases they don’t have to vote squat,” Howard said. “Bexar (County) Appraisal (District) values their appraisal taxes and Bexar Appraisal gives them the cash. So, what’s the vote.”

Howard questioned why the board was voting to approve a tax increase if the rate was not changing, saying San Antonio Independent School District just held a vote to approve their tax rate because they raised the rate above what the state allowed.

Howard said the public approved SAISD’s tax rate increase and questioned the voters’ decision. Howard said he is expecting the independent school district tax rate increase to raise his taxes $1,000 a year.

“So, what they’re (Alamo Colleges) going to do is ask Bexar Appraisal for a little bit more of what’s already theirs?” Howard said. “Well, they don’t need it. They can give it back to me.”

In an interview with The Ranger Sept. 8, board liaison Sandra Mora said the board will host a second public hearing on tax increase at the committee of the whole meeting 6 p.m. Sept. 12 at Killen Center.

Mora also said the board will vote on the tax increase at the regular board meeting at 6 p.m. Sept. 19 at Killen Center.

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