Rate Drops 12 Cents
By Will Johnson
GRAPELAND – The Grapeland Independent School District Board of Trustees received both good news and not so good news during a called meeting held on Thursday, Aug. 8.
The good news is the GISD school board approved a proposed tax rate approximately 12 cents lower for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 than in FY 2019. The not so good news is the average annual tax levy is expected to be $11 higher in FY 2020 than in FY 2019.
The reduction in tax rate comes about because of the passage of House Bill 3 by the 86th Texas Legislature.
According to the Texas Education Agency, “For the 2019 tax year, school districts will be required to reduce the tier one tax rate as defined under Section 45.0032, Education Code as well as any tax rate compression required to be applied to the enrichment tax rate under Section 48.202(f), Education Code.”
The meeting was called to order by GISD Board President James Martin at approximately 6:30 pm. Once the invocation and pledge were completed, Martin yielded the floor to GISD Business Manager Julie Martin.
Martin walked the trustees through a budget workshop and explained what HB 3 meant for the district. She explained the various allotments added to the budget, the line items voided by the state and how it affected the funding for FY 2020.
Following the budget workshop, Martin initiated the proposed tax rate discussion.
“With the new legislation (HB 3), our compressed tax rate can only start at 97 cents. It was $1.04. That is seven cents we won’t be collecting on our taxable values. With our I&S (interest and sinking), it has been proposed that we could actually go down on our debt service to 0.2336. It was at 0.28 last year for a total taxable rate of $1.32 (per $100 of property valuation). The proposed rate brings it down to $1.2036 (per $100 of property valuation). That is a 12 cent reduction in our tax rate,” Martin said.
As she continued, Martin said the total appraised value of all property within the district had increased from $290,169,040 to $376,246,270. She added the total taxable value of all property had also increased from $255,750,030 to $340,544,995.
“In saying that,” Martin continued as she referenced a handout provided to the trustees, “On the next page, in the middle box, it gives the average market value of residences in the Grapeland ISD taxing entity. That went up from $64,873 to $86,063.”
The average taxable value, however, only went from $52,130 to $58,092, due in large part to senior citizen exemptions, she explained.
Martin said using last year’s tax rate of $1.32 per $100 of property valuation, the average taxes paid by property owners in Grapeland came out to approximately $688.12.
Using this year’s proposed tax rate of $1.2036 per $100 of property valuation, a property owner’s tax bill for FY 2020 would be approximately $699.20 which reflective of an $11.08 increase.
“Even though our tax rate is going down, property owners could potentially see a small increase in their tax,” she said.
After a brief discussion, the FY 2020 proposed tax rate of $1.2036 per $100 of property valuation was approved by the GISD board.
In other matters brought before the board:
- A public hearing on the budget and proposed tax rate will be held on Aug. 29 at 6 pm.
- The district’s investment plan was approved.
- Budget amendments were also approved by the board.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com.