Houston County Discusses Three Cent Hike

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

HOUSTON COUNTY – The numbers are in and during a meeting of the Houston County Commissioners Court held on Tuesday, July 25, the court learned they’re not as bad as originally estimated.

“The certified (property) values are actually up from what they originally estimated because the rolling stock is up,” Houston County Judge Jim Lovell said as the county’s first budget workshop for FY 2018 got underway.

Following a brief discussion by the commissioners, a motion was made and approved to accept the certified property values of $1,294,658,687 from the Houston County Appraisal District.

“The numbers were up from the estimated values we received in May,” Houston County Auditor Melissa Mosley said. “We were preparing for a huge loss, but now it’s a small gain.”

Houston County Tax Assessor Collector Danette Millican was next to speak on the tax matter and presented a document to the court which showed the tax rate for last year was 0.524 cents per $100 of property valuation.

“The calculated effective tax rate is 0.52391 cents (per $100 of property valuation). Our rollback rate went all the way up to 0.706181 cents (per $100 of property valuation) this year,” she said.

According to Section 26.16 of the Texas Property Tax Code, “The effective tax rate is the rate that would generate the same amount of revenue in the current tax year as was generated by a taxing unit’s adopted tax rate in the preceding tax year from property that is taxable in both the current tax year and the preceding tax year. The rollback tax rate is the highest tax rate a taxing unit may adopt before requiring voter approval at an election.”

In the document prepared by Millican, she presented several different scenarios with a variety of tax rates.

According to the document, the taxable property value in 2016 was $1,284,478,846. When multiplied by the 2016 tax rate of 0.524, the county received $6,730,669.15 in tax revenue.

Using the 2017 taxable property value of $1,272,626,357 at the 2016 tax rate of 0.524, the county would receive $6,668,562.11. The other tax rates used by Millican are shown below.

  • $1,272,626,357 x 0.523691 (2017 effective tax rate) = $6,664,629.69
  • $1,272,626,357 x 0.706181 (2017 rollback tax rate) = $8,987,045.53
  • $1,272,626,357 x 0.550000 (2017 random tax rate) = $6,999,444.96
  • $1,272,626,357 x 0.580000 (2017 random tax rate) = $7,381,232.87
  • $1,272,626,357 x 0.600000 (2017 random tax rate) = $7,635,758.14
  • $1,272,626,357 x 0.650000 (2017 random tax rate) = $8,272,071.32
  • $1,272,626,357 x 0.680000 (2017 random tax rate) = $8,653,859.22

All the above numbers are based on a 100 percent collection rate.

As the workshop continued, Lovell discussed a budget based on a 0.554 tax rate, which would increase the tax rate by three cents over the previous year.

No action was taken on the tax rate or the budget as these matters were for discussion purposes only.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.