Hays County residents: Here’s how your tax bills might change


Over the next couple of weeks, Hays County and cities within it are finalizing their budgets and tax rates for fiscal 2019, which begins Oct. 1.

Here’s how those tax bills could look different next year:

HAYS COUNTY

2017 bond still pushing up budget

The $237.8 million public safety and roads bond package approved in 2017 continues to affect Hays County’s budget.

About $80 million of the spending in the proposed $313 million budget would go toward the public safety portion of the bond, including construction on the county jail. About an additional $18 million would go toward the road portion.

The county is in the beginning phase of construction of the new jail, and 90 percent of the road projects’ design services are under contract, Commissioner Debbie Ingalsbe said.

“Not only will these capital projects be completed with no debt rate increase, the county was able to cut the overall tax rate for fiscal year 2019,” Ingalsbe said in an email interview.

Aside from the bond projects, the regular road and bridge operating budget account for about $20 million in spending. Those projects include about $597,000 for low water crossings and about $665,000 for improvements to Texas 80 from Military Drive to Old Bastrop Highway.

By the numbers

2019 budget: $313 million, down about 16 percent from last year.

2019 tax rate: 43.37 cents per $100 in taxable property value.

That’s the rate that Hays County needed to set to raise the same amount of money as this past year, once rising property values are factored in.

Bottom line: The county portion of the tax bill would be $1,036 for the owner of the average taxable value home worth $243,812. That’s an increase of $48 over last year’s bill.

Weigh in

A public hearing on the budget will be at 1 p.m. Sept. 18 at the Hays County Courthouse, 111 E. San Antonio St., San Marcos, in the commissioners’ courtroom.

See it for yourself

The proposed budget, which council members are set to vote on Sept. 18, is posted at www.co.hays.tx.us under the Financial Transparency icon. It’s also available for viewing at the Hays County auditor’s office, 712 S. Stagecoach Trail in San Marcos.

BUDA

Budget focuses on streets, drainage, parks

Buda’s proposed budget is again focused on accommodating booming growth as projects arising from the city’s first bond election plug along.

In the past year, two of the 2014 bond projects wrapped up when the city staff relocated to the new, 55,100-square-foot City Hall and library and the police department relocated to the new, 14,480-square-foot public safety building.

With most of the larger bond projects out of the way, this year’s budget has shrunk from about $92 million last year to about $60 million this year. Spending on the city’s wastewater treatment plant expansion, which will go to bid in September, has dipped by about $23 million since last year’s budget.

This year, streets, drainage and the City Park will be the main capital improvement projects, City Manager Kenneth Williams said in a statement. (Improvements to City Park, another bond project, began this June, though there is no new spending in this year’s budget.)

“It was our goal to respond to growth through sound financial investments in key service areas and infrastructure,” Williams said.

Williams highlighted funding to maintain competitive salaries and benefits and the addition of three police officer positions, two parks maintenance positions and one public works position.

The proposed budget also increases funding for special events, with a focus on bringing more events and programs to the Main Street corridor, he said.

By the numbers

Proposed budget: $60 million, down 35 percent.

Proposed tax rate: 37.10 cents per $100 in taxable property value.

That’s an increase over the 36.73-cent tax rate that Buda would need to charge to raise the same amount of money as this past year, once rising property values are factored in.

Bottom line: The city portion of the tax bill would be $948 for the owner of the average home worth $255,745. That’s an increase of $60 over last year’s tax bill.

See it for yourself

The proposed budget, which council members are set to vote on Sept. 18, is posted at www.ci.buda.tx.us and available for viewing at the city secretary’s office at Buda City Hall.

KYLE

Focus remains on infrastructure

As Kyle hurries to catch up with growth, the city staff and City Council members said much of this year’s roughly $85 million budget, approved Tuesday, is focused on infrastructure improvements.

Some of the new spending includes about $45 million for capital improvement projects, about $7 million for Stagecoach Road reconstruction and about $17 million for construction tied to the wastewater treatment plant expansion.

“All those funds that we’re expending is to adequately meet the response … of the citizenry expanding, exploding,” Council Member Shane Arabie said at a budget workshop.

The proposed budget also includes $1.3 million for new equipment and vehicles, $778,000 for 16 new full-time positions (three in the police department, eight in public works, three in parks, one in utility billing and one in information technology) and $441,511 for technology improvements across departments.

By the numbers

2019 budget: $84.9 million, up about 12 percent.

2019 tax rate: 54.16 cents per $100 in taxable property value.

That’s an increase over the 52.35-cent tax rate that Kyle would need to charge to raise the same amount of money as this past year, once rising property values are factored in.

Bottom line: The city portion of the tax bill would be $1,059 for the owner of the average taxable home worth $195,507. That’s an increase of $53 over last year’s tax bill.

See it for yourself

The budget is posted at www.kyle.tx.gov and available for viewing at the Kyle City Hall, 100 W. Center St., and the Kyle Public Library, 550 Scott St.

SAN MARCOS

New hires make up much of new spending

The 2017 bond package for public safety and library improvements continues to affect San Marcos’ proposed property tax rate.

Spending increases this year also include about $187,000 for software maintenance, salary increases and economic development incentive increases, which include a $1 million sales tax rebate for the $5.8 million Best Buy call center that opened recently.

Much of the new spending is for new hires, including an emergency vehicle technician, eight firefighters, two fire inspectors, a school resource officer (jointly funded by the San Marcos Independent School District) and a narcotics officer in the police department.

“I believe that we will make a difference in key and critical areas of service,” City Manager Bert Lumbreras said at the first budget hearing in June. “We’re going to start taking some very exciting steps around a number of the priorities that this council has set in motion.”

The City Council also is considering a 5 percent increase to its water rate, a 2 percent increase to its wastewater rate and a 15 percent increase to its drainage rate, according to the proposed budget. The water and wastewater increases are in keeping with the city’s plan to secure future water supply through a regional water pipeline project.

The drainage rate increase will support $66.1 million in projects to improve the city’s handling of storm water drainage. This is the second year of a five-year plan to adjust stormwater rates 15 percent per year to properly fund these projects.

By the numbers

2019 budget: $229 million, up 7 percent.

2019 tax rate: 61.39 cents per $100 in taxable property value.

That’s the same rate as last year, but it’s still an increase over the 58.99 cents that San Marcos would need to charge to raise the same amount of money as this past year, once rising property values are factored in.

Bottom line: The city portion of the tax bill would be $1,126.67 for the owner of the average taxable home worth $183,527. That’s an increase of about $90 over last year’s tax bill.

See it for yourself

The proposed budget, which council members are set to vote on Sept. 18, is posted at sanmarcostx.gov and available for viewing at the Public Library, 625 E. Hopkins St., San Marcos.



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