County tax revenue increases ‘slightly’

By Megan Wehring

HAYS COUNTY – Hays County residents had the chance to speak up during the commissioner court’s hearing about the proposed tax increase on Sept. 8, but only two decided to voice their concerns.

The proposed tax rate for fiscal year 2021 (FY21) is 42.12 cents per $100 valuation of property, giving the county about $3.5 million in revenue. The proposed rate is a decrease from the 2020 rate of 42.37.

“The tax rate, although we are increasing ever so slightly from the ‘no-new-revenue’ tax rate, it is a lower tax rate than last year’s tax rate,” Ruben Becerra, county judge, said.

The no-new-revenue tax rate is the rate for the 2020 tax year that would raise the same amount of property tax revenue from the same properties in both the 2019 and the 2020 tax year.

The county would need voter approval if the new tax rate would increase the revenue from last year by more than 3.5%, according to Senate Bill 2.

Commissioner Lon Shell said adopting the proposed tax rate would ultimately bring in more revenue than the no-new-revenue tax rate of 40.43 cents.

“If we were to adopt the no-new-revenue tax rate, we would be generating what is called the same amount of revenue from taxes from existing properties that we did last year,” Shell said. “We will be taking in more money from property taxes than we did last year.”

Resident Steve Blackmore said the public hearing, part of the regularly scheduled meeting, helped clear up any confusion he had about the tax increase.

“As anybody who is a part of the community, you want to know what’s in return,” Blackmore said. “This has been helpful for me to understand what the tax is for and where we are standing historically.”

The public can attend the Hays County Commissioner Court’s budget hearing at 1 p.m. Sept. 22 where the court will adopt the new tax rate.-

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Megan Navarro (Wehring) graduated from Texas State University in May 2020 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. In June 2020, she started a summer internship at the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch through the Dow Jones News Fund and Texas Press Association. She then earned her way to a reporter position later that summer and now, she serves as the editor of the newspaper. Working for a small publication, Navarro wears multiple hats. She has various responsibilities including managing a team of reporters, making editorial decisions, overseeing social media posts, fact checking, writing her own articles and more. Navarro has a heart for storytelling and she believes that journalists are equipped to share the stories that are important to the community.

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