How government spending impacts your tax bill

Jerry Lee Erath County chief appraiser

September and October in the tax calendar is when the taxing jurisdictions are finalizing their budgets and setting their tax rate. Elected officials of the taxing units adopt a tax rate to fund the budget that they approve. The county and school district taxing units will tax all nonexempt property and if applicable you may also be taxed by cities, water districts or other special districts. The tax roll for each taxing entity is created when the tax rate is applied to appraisal district appraised values. You can probably expect to receive the result of these efforts, the tax bills from the County Assessor-Collectors Office, sometime in November.

As a taxpayer, it is important for you to understand how government spending affects the size of your tax bill. Changes in your property value may affect your tax bill, but does not necessarily increase or decrease the total amount of taxes paid to the taxing unit. Total taxes paid to a jurisdiction are determined by the tax rate adopted by the taxing units governing body. Total taxes collected by a taxing jurisdiction increase only when that jurisdiction increases spending over that of the previous year thus increasing the tax rate to provide for that additional spending.

This time of year the appraisal district is out in the county collecting data for next years appraised value roll. In addition, time is spent satisfying requirements of state reviews and planning for the next tax year. Sales and value data are also updated in the system as the data becomes available. The analysis of that information will help us to arrive at next years values.

September through November is when the Board of Directors whose term will expire are selected by the jurisdictions and when Appraisal Review Board vacancies are considered. Finding available, knowledgeable individuals to fill vacant Appraisal Review Board positions is always a difficult challenge. Taxing jurisdictions are always asked to submit names for consideration; however nominations may be submitted from any source. Nominees must fill out an application which is available at the appraisal district office or the taxing entities. The election process is performed by the Board of Directors during the regular December board meeting. The State of Texas prefers individuals with knowledge of property value or appraisal as those elected to serve on the ARB. However, the only real qualifications are that you must have been a resident of Erath County for at least 2 years, be available to serve when needed and that you are able to be fair and impartial in making decisions that come before you.

Should you have any questions about the subjects here or any other property tax matter, we are here to help and serve your needs. Do not hesitate to contact us at your convenience.

Jerry Lee is the executive director of the Erath County Appraisal District.