As property values in the Midland area continue to rise, local officials at the city, county, school district, and community college are setting tax rates that will force property owners to pay higher tax bills, on average, than in previous years.
All of the below local taxing entities are proposing property tax rates higher than the “effective” tax rate—also called the “no-new-revenue” rate—which adjusts as property values change to keep taxpayers’ bills roughly the same, in the aggregate, though individual results vary based on valuations and exemptions.
Texas’ Truth in Taxation laws require taxing entities to calculate and publish their effective rate each year to ensure the public is informed of any property tax increases, because year-over-year rate comparisons are meaningless as they don’t account for changing property values.
Regardless of the tax rates adopted, taxing entities collect new tax revenue each year from growth and economic development. All of the tax rates proposed by local officials listed below will result in higher property tax bills, on average, for local property owners.
Midland City Council is proposing a tax rate of $0.375639 per $100 of property valuation in 2019, which is higher than the effective rate of $0.349432 per $100 valuation. The proposed rate would result in over $5 million more in property tax revenues; close to $4 million would come from higher valuations of existing properties.
Council will vote to approve the final city budget and property tax rate August 27.
Midland County Commissioners Court voted this week to increase the county’s property tax rate to $0.1280 cents per $100 valuation—19 percent higher than the effective rate of $0.1056 and just below the rollback rate of $0.1285. Again, any tax rate higher than the effective tax rate will impose a tax increase in the aggregate on properties the county also taxed last year.
County commissioners cited a potential future economic downturn as the reason for the rate increase, despite property values rising again in 2019. Officials told a local newspaper that, under such a hypothetical downturn, the rate increase in 2019 would help ensure the county would not be forced to cut employees’ salaries or limit services in the future. Commissioners then proceeded to approve pay increases for themselves and all elected officials at a minimum of $2,060 per official and higher amounts for several judges.
The commissioners will hold a second public hearing on their proposed tax rate August 26.
Midland Independent School District’s board of trustees approved a $569 million bond proposal to be placed on the November 5 ballot. The bond debt is intended to build new schools as well as renovate existing facilities. If approved, the bond will increase MISD’s overall school tax rate by 2 cents per $100 of property valuation, eliminating any savings taxpayers would have gained from the relief passed by state lawmakers in House Bill 3.
Midland College trustees are also proposing a tax increase at a rate 5 percent over the effective rate, or $0.09121 per $100 valuation.
The college will hold public hearings on their proposed tax rate September 3 and 4, and will then vote to adopt the new rate at their September 10 meeting.