College Station residents could see a 7.84% property tax increase as part of the city's fiscal year 2020 budget.
College Station City Council members are working through the proposed budget in a series of budget workshops this week.
The net budget proposal for the city totals more than $341 million, including more than $270 million for operations and maintenance and more than $71 million for the capital budget. The current fiscal year’s budget is about $360 million. City officials said Monday morning that the dip in the overall total was largely due to the completion of, or progress on, capital projects such as the new police facility scheduled to open in 2020.
The tax rate change, if approved, would raise the tax rate to 53.4618 cents per $100 assessed valuation from the current level of 50.5841 cents per $100. For a $280,000 home, which is the average value, city property taxes would go up $108.85.
The net taxable certified value of property is $9.92 billion, a 5.79% increase over 2018. Existing property values increased by 1.88% over 2018. Taxable new value is $308.2 million.
Council members can make changes to the budget proposal over the next few weeks, and two public hearings are scheduled to give residents opportunities to provide feedback to the City Council on the proposed budget.
The fiscal year 2020 proposal includes a suggested water fee rate increase of 15%, which would raise the average monthly water bill by about $3.42 — to $26.22 from the current average of $22.80. Mary Ellen Leonard, the city’s director of fiscal services, presented the fee rate increase to the council in June. She said then that the water fund had experienced stress due to a lack of revenue, and that the fee hike would help replenish the fund and allow the city to invest in infrastructure projects.
Annual city sales tax revenue has slowed in the past few years, according to city manager Bryan Woods, the lead individual in the budget proposal process. He said sales tax has historically been a larger revenue stream in College Station than property taxes, but that the reverse was anticipated for the upcoming fiscal year.
The proposed budget also includes several service level increases, including five new patrol officers, two vehicles and five police assistants for the College Station Police Department. It also includes funds for a second attenuator truck and, through a SAFER grant award, funding for six more firefighters and maintenance on the Station 4 building.
City Council members will hash out the proposals during budget workshops that run through Wednesday afternoon.
City residents will have opportunities to weigh in on the tax rate and budget during public hearings scheduled for 6 p.m. Aug. 22 and Sept. 12, respectively.
The council will vote on a budget on Sept. 26.