Taxes Are On The Rise

By Alton Porter
Courier Reporter
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Crockett home and other real property owners can expect to pay 5 percent more in city property taxes in the upcoming year over what they paid this year.

The Crockett City Council approved an effective tax rate of 58.6094 cents per $100 of assessed property valuation for next year at a meeting Monday, Aug. 7.

This year's rate is 53.3823 cents per $100 of assessed value, and last year's rate was 56.8834 cents per $100 of assessed value.

City Administrator John Angerstein explained, "Whereas our 2015-2016 property values actually increased by a considerable amount, our tax rate was lowered to bring in the same amount of revenue. This year, we're seeing the opposite happen. We're seeing the property values go back down. So, I'm requesting that council approve the effective tax rate to bring in the same amount of money."
A motion setting the new effective tax rate was offered by Precinct 1 Councilmember Butch Calvert and seconded by Precinct 3 Councilmember Ernest Jackson. It unanimously carried, with Precinct 2 Councilmember Darrell Jones and Precinct 4 Councilmember Rita Rodriguez joining them in voting for the motion. Mayor Pro Tem Mike Marsh, the Precinct 5 councilmember, was absent.

According to Angerstein's computations, the proposed new rate means the owner of a median or average home valued at $82,600 in the city would pay $484.12 a year in property taxes in the coming year, compared to $440.94 for a home of that value at this year's rate and $469.85 at last year's rate. That's about $43 more next year than this year for a house of that value and about $14 more than last year, he noted.
The four councilmembers present unanimously voted to schedule two public hearings – Monday, Aug. 14, and Monday, Aug. 21 – on the proposed 2018 ad valorem tax rate and a session to approve the rate Monday, Aug. 28.

Comments on the city's proposed fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget – which projects $8,683,366 in revenue and $8,681,094 in requested expenses – also will be heard at the Aug. 14 public hearing.

In a letter Angerstein read and presented to the councilmembers, he noted, "I am providing you with the proposed 2017-2018 municipal operating budget and tax rate to support this budget.

"From an operation standpoint, this is a very lean budget, with most resources being used to maintain existing service levels and to absorb increases, such as an 8 percent increase in health insurance.
"Under this budget (which is balanced), all of the capital equipment purchases are being funded through sanitation contingency fund and a small portion from our general contingency. One position in the Street Department and the position of finance clerk remain unfilled to balance the 2017-2018 budget."

He added, "The 2017-2018 proposed levy represents no change in ad valorem tax revenue for general government services from the previous levy."

In other business, the councilmembers passed a motion made by Calvert and seconded by Jones, approving FY 2018 capital requests, which amount to $178,000 in total revenue and $177,955 in total equipment-project requests costs.

The revenue sources and amounts are: sanitation contingency, $160,000; and general fund contingency, $18,000.

The equipment-project request costs include: a pickup truck for General Administration, $17,000; Street Department expenses of $28,000 for equipment and a personnel haul truck and $54,950 for a tractor and mower; and $4,500 for a welder for the mechanics staff.

In addition, these costs include: a $12,000 payment for Fire Department parking lot improvement, $44,505 for a five-year lease payment for replacement of self-contained breathing apparatuses for the Fire Department and $17,000 for a pickup truck for the Park and Recreation Department.

The four councilmembers also unanimously voted to:
- Pass a motion made by Calvert – seconded by Jackson – to award a bid submitted by GrantWorks, Inc., a grant management firm, to assist the city in applying for a 2017 Downtown Revitalization and Main Street Fund Grant from the Texas Community Development Block Grant program and to provide grant management services to the city in the event it is awarded the grant; and
- Go forward on a motion offered by Jackson – seconded by Calvert – authorizing Angerstein to issue a request for proposals from contractors to remove and install roof shingles atop the Crockett Public Library building.