After the 11-percent tax hike hit Midland County taxpayers last year, it was a relief to hear county leaders announce their plan Monday to cut their budget in 2017 by 8 percent while bringing in the same tax revenue as 2016. Unfortunately, a majority of Midland residents will still see an upsurge in their tax bill.

The rate proposed on Monday is equal to the county’s effective tax rate: 15.599 cents per $100 valuation. Although it’s an increase from 2016’s rate of 14.0811 cents per $100 valuation, it is not technically a property tax increase. According to the State Comptroller’s Office, “the effective tax rate is a calculated rate that would provide the taxing unit with about the same amount of revenue it received in the year before on properties taxed in both years.” For all practical purposes, by passing the effective tax rate, Midland County is electing to not increase property taxes.

As detailed in a recent Midland Report Telegram Article, however, not every taxpayer is celebrating. The City of Midland recently reported that they’ve experienced an increase in property valuations, while Midland County (as reflected in the above higher effective rate) has seen a decrease. As if taxes weren’t confusing enough, the dynamics between city and county valuations demonstrate how the same tax rate can have a varying effect on each individual taxpayer.

Because the net value of properties in the county decreased, the effective rate increased. Thus, the properties that did increase in value (primarily within the city’s limits), can anticipate a rise in their 2017 tax bill.

The proposed rate and budget could still change. The county plans to hold a budget discussion with department leaders on August 22nd and anticipates adopting the final budget and tax rate on September 12th.

Lauren Melear

Lauren Melear leads the West Texas Bureau of Texas Scorecard. When not working, Lauren enjoys spending time with her husband and their dog, as well as cooking, working out, traveling to the hill country, and cheering on the fightin' Texas Aggies.