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For the third year in a row, officials in conservative Collin County are lowering the property tax rate to keep taxpayers’ bills steady amid skyrocketing property values.

Collin County Commissioners Court met this week to work on the county’s budget and tax rate, and on Wednesday approved a 2019 budget proposal based on the “effective tax rate” for 2018: $0.1807854 per $100 of assessed taxable value.

The effective tax rate (ETR) is one that collects the same amount of tax revenue from the same properties taxed the prior year. As property values change, the rate adjusts to keep taxpayers’ bills roughly the same, in the aggregate. As values rise, for example, the ETR goes down.

Texas’ Truth in Taxation laws require taxing entities to calculate the ETR so the public can evaluate how the amount of property taxes they pay will change from year to year. Year over year rate comparisons are meaningless because they don’t account for changing property values.

“This marks seven years over the past decade that Collin County has adopted the effective tax rate,” said County Judge Keith Self, who is retiring from the court at the end of his term this year.

According to Self, the average homeowner will see a $5.45 reduction in their county property tax bill. But he reminds taxpayers that the county’s rate reduction does not apply to city, school district, or college taxes. Each taxing entity sets its own property tax rate, and most don’t adopt the effective rate. Only Midland County has a lower tax rate than Collin.

Like all local taxing entities, the county will collect additional property tax revenue from new properties added to the tax rolls this year, which are not included in the effective tax rate calculation. Growth is then funded by the expanding tax base.

Precinct 2 Commissioner Cheryl Williams says the county is able to recommend the ETR yet again because commissioners adopted a fiscally responsible budget that allows the county to live within taxpayers’ means.

County residents will have three opportunities to attend public hearings on the budget and tax rate: September 4, 10, and 17. Commissioners will cast their final vote on September 17.

Collin County Commissioners Court meeting schedules, agendas, and videos can be found at https://www.collincountytx.gov/government/Pages/agenda.aspx.