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2012-10-04

Non-breaking news - taxes & budgets

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Governing bodies of both Bandera County and the City of Bandera approved their respective budgets for fiscal year 2012-2013, along with the 2013 tax rates. In both cases, tax rates remained the same, but increased property valuations by the Central Appraisal District resulted in more tax revenue.

Prior to commissioners voting to approve the county budget, Auditor Christina Moeller brought the court necessary budget adjustments.

According to Judge Richard Evans, adjustments that amounted to $116,476 "made a positive impact to the fund balance." Total county expenditures for 2012-2013 are likely to be $17,783,359. The estimated increase to the fund balance is 35 percent.

Additionally, the county's ad valorem tax rate of $0.6769 per $100 valuation will remain the same as in years past.

"For the first time in my memory, the tax rate has been below the effective tax rate and the rollback rate," Evans said.

Precinct 1 Commissioner Bruce Eliker emphasized that county residents would pay more taxes due to increased property values. "We did not increase taxes," he said.

Commissioners unanimously adopted the budget and tax rate for 2012-2013 and ratified the property tax increase reflected in the new budget which goes into effect Monday, Oct. 1.

Additionally, commissioners approved a resolution approving the adoption of GASB 54 Standards and Applications as presented by Moeller. "If you understand this, please explain it to me," Evans said.

Although nearly drowned out by a spate of personal attacks and rumblings, Bandera City Council similarly approved its budget and tax rate for next year during a special meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 25.

Last minute budget adjustments in the form of a $10,000 payment to the Economic Development Corporation and an already agreed upon $50,000 additional to streets and infrastructure took place before council finally approved the budget.

The additional monies came from cash in the general fund.

"The $10,000 is money the city owes the EDC on an annual basis. It was never included in the budget before, but now it needs to be recorded," said Mayor Pro Tem Maggie Schumacher.

Council also adopted an ad valorem tax rate of $0.403310 per $100 valuation - the same rate as in previous years. Although the tax rate had not increased, higher property valuations contributed to an increase of $7,890 in city revenues - which increased total city taxes by 2.749 percent.

Council also took action on a mandated-by-the-Texas-Legislature ordinance adopting the tax rate for FY 2012-2013. The action finally brought to a close myriad budget workshops and special meetings.