No one spoke at Lubbock County's first public hearing on the proposed property tax rate. If you want to give your opinion before the Commissioners' Court, you have one more chance.
The second and final public hearing is 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 1 at the Lubbock County Annex building, first floor, 916 Main Street.
Commissioners may increase what the average citizen pays. Two rates are being considered: the no-new-revenue rate of 33.0575 cents per $100 valuation and 33.9978 cents per $100 valuation.
The higher rate would increase the annual tax bill to the county by $14.78 for a home appraised at $157,144. County Judge Curtis Parrish tells us if this rate is adopted, all of the additional revenue would go to the sheriff's office and 11 volunteer fire departments. Sheriff Kelly Rowe is asking for more funding, to retain deputies who continue to leave for other higher-paying departments and to fight gangs and drugs. For a property the appraisal district valued at $100,000 the higher rate would increase the annual bill by $9.40. For a $300,000 home it's $28.20.
Following changes in state law passed last legislative session, the term "effective rate" is now the "no-new-revenue" tax rate. Both mean the rate that must be adopted to generate roughly the same revenue on properties on the tax rolls both last year and this year. In other words, after taking into consideration the average appraisal increase, the average citizen will pay about the same in taxes as the year prior. This rate does not take into consideration new properties.
It's also budget time for the City of Lubbock. Under its proposed budget and tax rate, for the average home appraisal of $157,144, the amount due to the city for the year will increase just under $9. For other comparisons, an appraisal of $100,000 would yield an increase of $5.69 for the year; a $300,000 property would see an increase of $17.06.
The city's no-new-revenue tax rate is 53.5885 cents per $100 valuation. The proposed tax rate is 54.1573 cents per $100 valuation.
City staffers note the proposed rate is 1.645 cents lower than the rate set last year. Showing the significance of Lubbock's growth, this budget accounts for more than $2.3 million in tax revenue from new properties added to the rolls this year. Full details on this and prior budgets here.
The city's proposed budget projects 3.3 percent more revenue coming into the general fund than the 2019-2020 plan, a difference of $7.3 million. The budget plans for $148,356,538 in revenue from taxes. This includes $71,297,353 in operation and maintenance property taxes and $74,796,435 in sales taxes. Taxes make up 64.3 percent of general fund revenues, according to the budget.
The budget projects sales tax revenue to increase $1.8 million, or 2.5 percent, compared to 2019-2020. Despite the pandemic, sales tax revenue is up this year in Lubbock compared to the year prior, including a more-than-10-percent jump in the August 2020 payment compared to August 2019. And total property tax revenue, including new property, is projected to increase $2.3 million, 3.4 percent more than last year.
You can give your thoughts on the proposal to city council 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 2 at Citizens Tower, 1314 Avenue K.
Another change the legislature approved last session is websites set up for citizens to determine how proposals will change their specific tax bill, along with contact information for each taxing entity.