Jones Creek sign

JONES CREEK — The aldermen of the village passed a property tax rate for their constituents at a special meeting with only a few days to go before the turnover of the fiscal year.

The unanimously adopted number they arrived at was about 39.5 cents per $100 of value, a drop in rate from last year. However, with the rise in valuations of over 17 percent coming in from the county, they are expecting higher overall revenue. The amount is all listed as maintenance and operations for the village, with none of it being assigned to debt service.

This marks the lowest rate in recent years, down from 44 cents the previous two years. It’s also the first time the rate has been below 40 cents in several years, running from 41 cents at the lowest to 46 at the highest.

“We had a significant property value increase,” Alderwoman Nicole Hardesty said. “We came down, but due to the property valuation increase, that caused a 5.4 percent increase in taxes.”

The value changes, which are determined by the Brazoria County Appraisal District and not the village, resulted in a “considerable” number of challenges, Hardesty said.

The increase in valuations surprised many residents because the village is not seeing much growth, she said.

“We have not had anything to really to write home about as far as new growth and new homebuilding in the area. No new businesses, either, have come in,” Hardesty said. “But our property values have gone up considerably.”

Jones Creek Mayor Terry Jeffers believes the rise in values was something that changed a lot of aldermen’s intentions regarding the rate.

“With this new valuation that the appraisal district did, jacking up everybody’s values of their property, we had to come down,” Jeffers said.

The required public hearing preceded one of the last tax rates to pass in the county, with Sept. 30 marking the final opportunity to finalize the rate. The budget had been passed at the previous meeting Sept. 20.

The proposed budget included a loss of ad valorem tax for property, but an increase of franchise fees and sales tax over the prior year with regards to outside revenue. Other changes included less revenue expected from court fines and rental income, but a larger amount under trash service receipts.

Payroll was listed as higher for administration and the municipal court, but lower for the Marshal’s Department. Benefits were listed as a small bump except for the Street Department, which swung from almost nothing to about $12,000, though that is still less than the nearly $13,000 listed for them in the 2020-21 year. Jeffers said a large amount of expected road work accounted for the shift.

Total payroll expenses were expected to run about $10,000 higher. Marshal’s expenses were listed as about $5,000 higher, a change which could largely be attributed to higher internet, telephone and fuel costs. Jeffers said those costs factored heavily into the council’s decisions for the budget, including finding a new internet provider for the Marshal’s Office.

On the other side, court expenses and street maintenance were listed as significantly down from the previous year. Administrative expenses were nearly unchanged overall with a slight change of about $300 shaved off.

“In order to balance, you always have to shave a little off of here or there,” Jeffers said. “No significant changes were really made.”

Kent Holle is a reporter for The Facts. Contact him at 979-237-0154.

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