Three proposals could mean more out of taxpayers' pockets in Taylor County

Three local entities planning tax increases

ABILENE, Texas - If you own a home in Abilene, there's a good chance your property taxes are going up.

Tuesday, Taylor County commissioners gave preliminary approval to a two-cent per $100 valuation rate increase. Last year, commissioners approved a one-cent hike. Before that, the rate hadn't gone up in at least five years. Where it is now is where it was in 2003.

"It was a real challenging budget but unfortunately about the only source of revenue is property taxes," Precinct 3 Commissioner Stan Egger said.

The current rate is 48.26 cents per $100 valuation. However, because of a slight increase in property values, the effective tax rate – the tax rate needed to generate roughly the same amount of revenue – in the coming year is 47.47 cents.

The proposed new rate, before public hearings, is 50.47 cents per $100 valuation.

That means the owner of a $105,000 home, the average for Taylor County, will pay an additional $30 per year – or $2.52 per month.

"As in any business or household, eventually there are things you have to address," said Egger, citing maintenance and salaries, among other issues.

The tax hike may not be the only proposal that could affect your wallet. There are also two other proposals on the table that could mean more money out of your pocket.

Thursday, the Abilene City Council approved an upgrade the Hamby water treatment plant. The $65 million in bonds will allow that plant to put treated effluent water back into Lake Fort Phantom will add $6 to $7 onto your monthly water bill. That's for the first phase of the plan. The second stage will happen in October of 2014. It will raise residents' water and sewer bills an additional $1.50.

"Whatever our city needs to do to improve our community for our citizens to make us more attractive to other businesses, I approve it," Abilene resident Isaiah Core said.

"I'm against that," John Lindhorst said. "They don't need to do that all they need to do is clean that mess up they got out there."

On top of the property tax hike and the water treatment plant proposal, Abilene Independent School District may approve an $87 million bond to improve schools that would be placed on the November ballot.

Back in 2009, voters were asked to approve a $25 million bond for a new career tech high school. That bond failed.

Phil Ashby of Abilene ISD said he believes people are invested in schools and that he has hope for the bond, pending its approval by the AISD board this coming Monday.

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