CORPUS CHRISTI (KIII NEWS) - The damage left behind by Hurricane Harvey will likely force several taxing entities, including Nueces County, to raise taxes.
In fact, Nueces County is currently considering a one cent increase in property taxes to make up for revenue that will not be coming in from harder hit communities like Port Aransas.
News of the proposal did not sit well with viewers on social media Monday, so 3News sat down with Judge Neal Tuesday morning to further clarify the proposed increase:
"There are some tough decisions that we're going to have to make on Wednesday," Nueces County Judge Loyd Neal said, not mincing words during an emergency workshop Monday.
County commissioners will have to decide how to make up for the expected loss in property tax revenue caused by Harvey -- specifically in Port Aransas, which makes up for about eight-percent of the property tax revenue in Nueces County coffers.
"The real dilemma is next year," Neal said. "If the values in Port A are reduced, what we think they may be based on estimates made by Ronnie and the tax assessor, we may see a reduction of $3 or $4 million."
So how do they make up for the loss?
"Well we know our fund balance is less this year, but we weren't anticipating such a big reduction in the values in Port Aransas," Neal said.
The only way to make up for the difference would be to take it out of an already hard-hit county fund balance, or cut costs. But where could cuts be made?
"We don't have a lot of fluff in our budget," Commissioner Mike Pusley said. "We've had over $2 million in additional costs associated with healthcare for the employees of this county the last two years."
That revenue came directly out of the County's fund balance to offset the increase in healthcare costs. Such added expenses only add to the County's dilemma. So come Wednesday, when commissioners meet again, they will have to make some tough decisions.
"We just don't have a lot of places to cut the budget, but we're going to look," Pusley said. "We're going to take a serious look at everything between now and when we adopt our final tax rate to see where else there might be where we can cut."
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