Sunday, September 04, 2005

County Taxes Held Steady

Reprint from the Progress Times - September 2, 2005©Progress Times 2005 - All Rights Reserved
County Decides To Keep Same Tax Rate Of 59 Cents
By BARBARA KING
Expect the Hidalgo County commissioners to receive congratulations at their meeting next week. They voted, 4 to 0, at the Tuesday, August 30, meeting, to keep the same tax rate of 59 cents per $100 valuation for 2005.
County Judge Ramon Garcia was absent (out of town) but he indicated recently he favors the action. In his absence, Precinct 1 Commissioner Sylvia Handy presided.
This year, if the tax rate exceeds the effective rate (56.80 cents), two public hearings are required. The court set them for September 13 and 20, both Tuesdays, at 9 a.m. in the administration building. This rate is estimated to generate $115,801,176 from the property tax levy at an estimated 92 percent collection rate. Other revenues add $14,924,560 and after $12,933,790 is deducted for debt service, the net total is $117,791,946.
Before the matter was brought before the court by Tax Assessor-Collector Armando Barrera Jr., two members of OWLS (Objective Watchers of the Legal System) spoke during the Open Forum part of the meeting. Most anyone could have figured their remarks would be about adoption of a tax rate for the county.
"If you are considering raising taxes, you have got to be kidding," Virginia Townsend said. "Remember we had a huge new appraisal and that should be enough. If it’s not enough, you need to go back to the drawing board. Everybody can’t have everything they want. I don’t think people will stand for it."
She added if the Appraisal District had not reappraised property values, it might be understandable.
Fern McClaugherty said she had been told that any non-profit group approaching the county court could count on getting some help from the court. "I’m here for the children of families who can’t pay their taxes now. Please don’t make them spend more money that they could spend on school clothes," she said.
Townsend also told the court that she had received several phone calls from concerned citizens wanting to know if the new Rio Grande Valley Health Services District in the process of getting established would have taxing power. Since it was a Public Forum item and no answer is required, she said people should call their own precinct commissioner.

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