Board explains tax increase, discusses public impact

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Board will vote on tax rate Sept. 19.

By Zachary-Taylor Wright

zwright9@student.alamo.edu

Although there were no citizens to be heard at the district’s second public hearing on a tax increase, the board of trustees clarified there was not a tax rate increase and discussed the impact increased property valuations have on constituents at the public hearing Sept. 12.

A Bexar County resident opposed the tax increase at the public hearing on a tax increase Sept. 6. In an interview after the hearing, he said he was unaware the tax rate was not increasing because the only notice he saw was for a tax increase.

In response to the confusion, District 1 trustee Joe Alderete asked Dr. Diane Snyder, vice chancellor for finance and administration, to explain at the Sept. 12 hearing that the board was not considering a tax rate increase.

Alderete said Snyder confided to him that she regretted not explaining the tax increase more clearly at the public hearing Sept. 6.

Chancellor Bruce Leslie asked Pamela Ansboury, associate vice chancellor for finance and fiscal services, to expand on the topic.

Ansboury explained that while Alamo Colleges is not raising the tax rate, Bexar County residents will experience a tax increase as property valuations from the Bexar County Appraisal District increase.

During the Audit, Budget and Finance Committee meeting Sept. 12, District 5 trustee Roberto Zárate said the board needs to be mindful that taxpayers are more concerned with the amount of taxes increasing than a tax rate.

During the committee meeting, District 6 trustee Gene Sprague said state legislation was worded to give the appearance taxing entities are raising taxes. He said this causes governing agencies, such as the Alamo Colleges, to receive the blame for tax increases.

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.

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 2 trustee Denver McClendon clarified that, although the district is not raising the tax rate, Bexar County residents will have to write a larger check when paying taxes because of the increase in property valuations.

Zárate agreed but said the board needs to maintain a substantial growth and be considerate of constituents when addressing taxes.

Leslie asked Ansboury what the average tax bill is for a Bexar County resident within the Alamo Colleges’ district.

For every dollar Bexar County residents pay in property taxes, about 6 cents goes to Alamo Colleges, Ansboury said.

Snyder clarified that tax revenue funds facilities and preventative maintenance. She said tax revenue is a critical source of district funding and allows the district to keep tuition low.

According to a budget presentation Bedwell presented to the board at the budget retreat July 18, taxes will account for 44 percent of the district’s overall revenue and tuition 24 percent.

According to the Alamo Colleges website, most classes cost $258 for students in district and $606 for students out of district. 

The board will vote on the proposed tax rate at the board meeting at 6 p.m. Sept. 19 at Killen Center.

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