The Austin Community College District is proposing a half-percent increase in its property tax for their fiscal year that starts Sept. 1, part of a move to offset declining property appraisals.
The college district’s board of trustees heard a proposal to increase its tax rate from 9.46 cents per $100 in property value to to 9.51 cents. The board is expected to vote on the increase at its September meeting.
“Our board took a judicious approach to reducing costs in the new budget, allowing for necessary growth without reducing instructional programs or student services during a period of large enrollment increases. While our property tax revenue will go down this year, the college will continue to meet the vast educational needs of the Central Texas region,” said Dr. Stephen Kinslow, the college district’s president and chief executive officer.
Despite the rate increase, the average homeowner’s bill will actually decrease about $2, said college official, who also pointed out that the Austin Community College District’s tax is less than the state average of 15 cents per $100.
ACC offers a standard $5,000 homestead exemption plus a $105,000 exemption – the most generous in the region – for senior citizens and homeowners with disabilities.
The maintenance and operations portion of the tax rate will remain unchanged at $0.09, a cap that cannot increase without voter approval. The tax also includes $0.0051 for debt service. When taxable values decline, the debt service rate must increase to generate enough revenue to cover the debt service payment.
The college district has been spending aggressively in recent months, committing $35.4 million to buy land for future campuses, including one in Kyle and one in San Marcos. Both the Hays and San Marcos school districts’ voters will vote Nov. 2 on whether to join the college district’s taxing area, a move that cannot be reversed.
The value of the average Travis County homestead decreased by 1.4 percent this year; the value of the average Williamson County homestead went down by 1.9 percent.
The adopted 2010-11 budget includes $94,632,593 of property tax operating revenue (which funds instructional programs, student support services, and facility maintenance, among other things) and $5,402,271 of property tax debt service.