Nueces County Commissioners voted four-to-one Wednesday in favor of keeping their tax rate as is; but Commissioner Brent Chesney, the lone no-vote, says leaving the tax rate as is still amounts to a 2.5-percent tax increase because of rising property values.
These are comments from Nueces County Commissioners right after Wednesday's adoption of a new budget.
"There's no desire in this community at this point, because of our recovery, to add any increases to the taxes," Commissioner John Mares said.
"It's a very sound budget," Commissioner Mike Pusley said. "It's very conservative. It doesn't raise your taxes."
"We're not raising the tax rate for Nueces County Citizens," Nueces County Judge Loyd Neal said.
However, Commissioner Chesney said he voted against keeping the tax rate as is because the end result, with rising property values, is still a tax increase.
"Prior to my vote of no, I made a very doable motion during the meeting to vut spending by $2 million and adopt the effective tax rate, which would have meant no new taxes had my motion passed," Chesney said in a written statement. "I did this because I felt at this time, with what Nueces County has just gone through with Hurricane Harvey, that any property tax increase was not appropriate."
"There is a tax increase because we didn't use the effective tax rate," Judge Neal said.
The judge visited 3News Thursday to break down the numbers.
"Officially what happens when you don't use the effective tax rate under the true and taxation law, and you use a tax rate higher than the effective tax rate, your actually raising taxes," Neal said.
Neal said what commissioners did was use the current tax rate, so the rate was not changed, but because property valuations continue to climb the actual tax bill for most people would go up.
This means a property owner with a $130,000 home will pay about $18 more a year in county property taxes.
"This was a good budget. It's a very lean budget, but it's going to be a tougher year next year."