The San Marcos City Council held the first public hearing on Ordinance 2019-22 setting the tax rate for the 2019 Tax Year at $0.6139 per $100 of taxable value of real property that is not exempt from taxation.
The public hearing opened around 9:50 PM last night and had no speakers. Staff provided the council with a brief presentation on the proposed tax rate.
According to the agenda, the effective tax rate is $0.5686 per $100 valuation, which would generate the same amount of revenue from the year prior without including any new property that has been added to the tax rolls.
Staff said the tax rate, which is the same as FY 2019, will generate $3,609,775, or 11.7 percent, more revenue than last year. Of that amount, $815,568 is tax revenue raised from new property and improvements added to the tax roll.
According to the agenda, for the fiscal year 2020, the debt to operations ration is 33.7 percent debt to 66.3 percent operations. $0.663 of every tax dollar will go toward operations and $0.337 will go to debt service.
This year’s rollback rate is $0.6217 per $100 of assessed valuation. The adoption of a $0.6139 per $100 valuation tax rate is effectively a 7.9 percent increase in the tax rate.
“I think everybody in our county is exhausted with the increase of our property evaluation and the increase in taxes,” Council Member Lisa Prewitt said. “Some point in time we got to quit doing this to our residents, and at what time does our city manager need to know that we’re going to change that tax rate…because this is really late in the game to change the tax rate.”
Prewitt went on to ask staff when the city receives what the increase in evaluation is going to be and the final numbers for the appraisal protests.
Bert Lumbreras, City Manager, said the city doesn’t receive the certified tax rolls until the end of July, which affects their ability to share what is the best information on where the rates are.
“But for us, it’s hard to make that commitment, and I’m going to be a whole lot smarter about this next year when we don’t know by how much the appraisals are going to go up,” Mayor Jane Hughson said. “Because that is what hits people in their pocketbook.”
During the discussion, the council discussed ways to improve the budget process for next year and provide themselves enough time to discuss the appraisal valuations and adjusting the tax rate.
Among the suggestions, Mayor Hughson suggested scheduling the first budget workshop for a day prior to August 1 as it did not give staff nor council enough time to make adjustments.
Prewitt asked that the discussion of a senior “tax freeze” or exemption, which council had been discussing for two years now, made it onto the council’s radar next year in before the budget process began.
Council approved the tax rate for the 2019 tax year on the first of two readings with a 6-1 vote with Prewitt voting against.
Council will hold their second public hearing and consider the approval of the 2019 tax rate on September 3.