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BCRAGD approves proposed tax rate increase

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

The board of directors of the Bandera County River Authority and Groundwater District (BCRAGD) voted to improve a slight increase in their proposed tax rate for fiscal year 2013 in a called meeting held Wednesday, August 8.

The proposed tax rate is .026001 cents. Last year's rate was .024474.

According to BCRAGD General Manager Dave Mauk, if the rate is approved after a public hearing, taxpayers in the water district would pay about $2.50 more per year on average than they paid last year.

"The economy's tight and we need to be [financially] smart everywhere we can," said Mauk, "but we're in a deep drought and we live in a priority water management area. Water is a finite resource and we need to manage it."

The public hearing on the proposed tax rate will be held Friday, August 24 at 9 am at the BCRAGD offices at 440 FM 3240. The public hearing will be followed by a called meeting of the board of directors.

The proposed tax rate will support a $35,000 increase over last year in the BCRAGD's 2013 budget, presented to the board by Mauk at Wednesday's meeting.

Most line items in the budget showed little or no increase from the previous year. Expense totals for some line items were decreased.

However, Mauk added two line items that accounted for a $20,000 increase in the budget. The budget shows a proposed $14,000 expenditure for a USGS rain gauge on Bandera County's Edwards Aquifer and a $6,000 expense for a USGS rain gauge on the Sabinal.

Mauk explained that he proposed placing a USGS rain gauge near an existing BCRAGD monitoring well over the Edwards Aquifer in far northwest Bandera County. "It would offer real time data to fire departments and emergency services about rainfall in that area," said Mauk. "The benefit is not just the science for us, but to the people who live out there."

Mauk is also negotiating with the Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA), which oversees the Edwards Aquifer that provides the bulk of the water to San Antonio, to pay for part of the maintenance of a rainfall and flow gauge on the Sabinal. The gauge would be similar to the one installed by USGS in Medina last year, and would provide flooding information to residents.

Rain that falls over the Sabinal basin recharges the Edwards, which lies to the south of the Balcones Escarpment. The EAA installed measuring devices in the Sabinal valley previously, but does not share their data, said Mauk.

"If we partner with them," said board member Jerry Sides, "they will have to share their data with us."

"We've identified a few good locations for a gauge," said Mauk. "We think [this partnership] is going to happen."

Regarding another line item increase, Mauk explained a $3,700 bump in temporary staff payroll as a needed expense to have the district's summer intern come back to assist with water tests and data collecting as needed. "She's already trained," said Mauk.

Line items with the largest decreases from last year included a $9,100 drop in well permits expenditures, a perhaps optimistic $10,000 drop in attorney fees, $14,000 less in equipment expenditures and $11,000 less on the USGS gauge in Medina, which will only require maintenance.

Following Mauk's explanation of the proposed budget and a brief discussion by board members, the directors voted unanimously to approve the $497,695 budget. Since the bottom line is below $500,000, the district is not required to hold a public hearing on the budget.

Directors Gene Wehmeyer and Don Kruckemeyer did not attend Wednesday's meeting.

Water District
Notice of Public Hearing on Tax Rate

The BCRAGD will hold a public hearing on a proposed tax rate for the tax year 2012 on 08/24/2012 at 9:00 AM at 440 FM 3240, Bandera, Texas. Your individual taxes may increase or decrease, depending on the change in the taxable value of your property in relation to the change in taxable value of all other property and the tax rate that is adopted.

FOR the proposal: Don Sloan, Neil Boultinghouse,
Karen Ripley, Ernest DeWinnie, Jerry Sides,
Sid Gibson
AGAINST the proposal: None
PRESENT and not voting: None
ABSENT: Gene Wehmeyer, Don Kruckemeyer

 The following table compares taxes on an average residence homestead in this taxing unit last year to taxes proposed on the average residence homestead this year  
  Last Year This Year  
Total tax rate (per $100 of value) $0.024474/$100 $0.026001/$100  
Adopted Proposed  
Difference in rates per $100 of value   + $0.001527/$100  
Percentage increase/decrease in rates (+/-) + 6.24%  
Average appraised value $157,028 $157,941  
General exemptions available
   (excluding senior citizen's or disabled
   person's exemptions) $9,979 $8,450  
Average taxable value $147,049 $149,491  
Tax on average residence homestead $35.99 $38.87  
Annual increase/decrease in taxes if
   proposed tax rate is adopted (+/-)   + $2.88  
   and percentage of increase (+/-)   + 8.00%  

If taxes on the average residence homestead increase by more than eight percent, the qualified voters of the district by petition may require that an election be held to determine whether to reduce the operation and maintenance tax rate to the rollback tax rate under Section 49.236(d), Water Code.