BRAZORIA — Reduced debt payments will allow the city to lower its tax rate, officials say.
Council intends to adopt the rollback tax rate of 68 cents per $100 of property value, a drop of almost four cents from the current rate of 72.2 cents per $100 of appraised value, members said during Tuesday’s workshop session.
The effective tax rate is that which would generate the same amount of revenue as the previous year from properties on the tax rolls both years. Because of the decrease in debt payments — 15.13 cents per $100 of value is required to meet its debt obligations, according to the Brazoria County Tax Office — the effective rate would bring in 2.93 percent more money for maintenance and operations tax revenue than the current year.
That is because the effective rate is calculted only on the overall rate, not its individual parts, Tax Assessor and Collector Ro’Vin Garrett said. The rollback rate factors both sides of the tax rate, meaning there would be no tax increase for Brazoria.
An increase in taxable value due mainly to reappraisal produced a lower effective rate for maintenance and operations, Garrett said. Combined with the lower debt obligation, the rollback tax rate came out lower than the effective rate, she said.
Property values increased about 8 percent in Brazoria this year, Councilman Gary Kersh said.
If City Council adopted the effective tax rate, residents could petition to lower the tax rate to the rollback level since it is lower, City Manager Olan Massingill said, so he recommended that council adopt the rollback rate instead.
Council will consider proposing the tax rate at its meeting Tuesday, then formally adopt it at a later date, the agenda states. The meeting will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the council chambers of City Hall at 201 S. Main St., Brazoria.
Massingill consulted retired city manager Teresa Border to figure out the tax information, as well as attending a workshop in Austin, working with the county tax office and doing a lot of reading, he said. In future instances where he might need Borders’ help, he budgeted $17,508 for her to work 25 hours a week on an as-need basis.
“Just in case there’s things I run into that I need her for,” Massingill said.
When Councilwoman Roschelle Hicks asked if they could reduce the amount of money, Massingill said he would hate to, just in case they had a hurricane or emergency.
It will be a nice cushion to have, Councilwoman Gail Logsdon said. If the full $17,508 is not used, it can be transferred for other purposes, Massingill said.