Proposed Rate Increases Taxes by 0.026 Cents per $100

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

HOUSTON COUNTY – The Commissioners Court of Houston County got an early start on Tuesday morning, Aug. 8 as they moved their normally scheduled 10 a.m. start time up to 8 a.m. to squeeze in a budget workshop before their regularly scheduled meeting.

Following the conclusion of the budget workshop, the court took a brief recess before addressing the proposed tax rate needed to support the fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget.

Once the meeting was reconvened, Houston County Judge Jim Lovell explained the county was proposing a tax rate of 0.554 per $100 of property valuation.

In a meeting held at the end of last month, Houston County Tax Assessor Collector Danette Millican 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.”

During the Tuesday meeting, Millican explained the required notices needed to be published in the newspaper seven days prior to the first required public hearing because the county was proposing a tax rate over the effective rate.

After several minutes of discussion between the commissioners, the court lowered the initial proposed tax rate from 0.554 to 0.55 per $100 of property valuation.

The dates for the two required public hearings on the proposed tax rate were set for Aug. 22 and Aug. 29 at 9 a.m.

In other matters brought before the court:

  • The commissioners approved the minutes from previous meetings.
  • The payment of bills and expenses incurred by the county were approved.
  • The Houston County Environmental Report was received as information by the commissioners.
  • The court approved the salaries for two full-time jailers and a part-time equipment operator for Precinct One.
  • A motion was approved to renew the Affordable Care Act Reporting and Tracking Service through the Texas Association of Counties.
  • Hotel Occupancy Tax funding was approved for use in the amount of $2,000 for use by the World Championship Fiddlers Festival held on Sept. 22 and 23.

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