By Brittany Anderson
HAYS COUNTY – Several key financial decisions were approved by the Hays CISD Board of Trustees for the upcoming fiscal year, which were reflective of the growth of Hays County and the district.
The board unanimously approved the adoption of the Fiscal Year 2022-2023 tax rate during its regular meeting on Aug. 29, and also briefly discussed the item during the Aug. 22 agenda review meeting.
The tax rate is set at $1.3423 per $100 valuation, broken down between the maintenance and operations (M&O) rate at $0.8546 and the interest and sinking (I&S) rate at $0.4877. This proposed rate is $.0174 less than FY 2021-2022.
The M&O tax rate will be raised by 22.3785%, raising taxes on a $100,000 home by approximately $156.27 annually. The I&S portion of the rate remains the same as last year.
Hays CISD Chief Financial Officer Randy Rau said that over the past four years, the district has decreased the total tax rate by 19.5 cents.
“I know it doesn’t feel like a decrease sometimes when our home appraisals go up, but we are really trying around here to lower the tax burden,” said Vanessa Petrea, board president. “We can do that with some of the growth we’ve seen.”
The board also unanimously approved the certified taxable property values for FY 2022-2023 from the Hays, Caldwell and Travis appraisal districts.
The values have increased by $4.1 billion, or 35.21%, from FY 2021-2022. Hays County’s value is set at $15.6 billion, Caldwell County is $82.3 million and Travis County is $86.5 million. Rau said this is largely due to home prices going up this year, but said he doesn’t anticipate seeing 35% going forward.
Finally, the board unanimously approved the defeasance and redemption of a portion of outstanding bonds. A defeasance is a financing tool in which outstanding bonds may be retired without a bond redemption or implementing an open market buy-back.
“We’re looking at paying off early about $17.8 million of variable rate bonds which were at the end of their term, which means we would have to basically refinance [them]at a new rate,” Rau said. “But by paying these off early, we’re actually saving $22 million in interest payments over the course of the life of those, so that’s through 2042. … That’s $22 million worth of interest payments that [taxpayers]won’t have to pay. … We’re in a very good position with this, and taking advantage of it to be able to pay off debt early.”