Lavaca County officials propose lower tax rate
Aug. 23, 2013 at 3:23 a.m.
HALLETTSVILLE - The Lavaca County Commissioners Court has proposed a property tax rate about 10 cents lower than the current rate, but because of the increase in property values, the proposed rate will raise more revenue than last year.
During a public hearing Thursday, Lavaca County Judge Tramer Woytek explained how the lower rate is possible.
"Our revenue will go up this year despite the fact that I have proposed and we are putting forth the tax rate of 44.19 cents, as compared to last year's rate of 54.02 cents," he said to open the public hearing.
Tax rates are per $100 in valuation.
"This is due to the majority of the pipelines associated with the gas plant being added to our values this year," Woytek said.
Taxable county property values increased by more than $854 million from 2012 to 2013 with new property accounting for more than $38 million of that, according to figures from Tax Assessor/Collector Debi Sevcik.
"The tax rate is going down. The actual amount being paid on your county tax bill is going down," Woytek said. "This year, it will be $92 less per $100,000 valuation than last year."
Woytek said that although the Eagle Ford Shale oil and gas activity has been the major reason for the reductions, it also requires keen management to maintain the right funding levels in the county budget.
"We are blessed by circumstances. However, pulling those kinds of reductions off is no accident; it takes a lot of hard work," he said.
"I would like to thank the court for its support as well as the hard work of all of the elected officials and our auditor."
No members of the public commented about the proposed tax rate.
The Lavaca County Commissioners Court will conduct a second public hearing on the proposed tax rate and the proposed budget at 10 a.m. Monday in the commissioners courtroom of the Lavaca County Courthouse, 109 N. LaGrange St. in Hallettsville.
After the public hearing, the agenda includes a vote on adopting the new budget.
In addition to Woytek, the commissioners court includes Precinct 1, Edward Pustka; Precinct 2, Ronald Berckenhoff; Precinct 3, R.W. Brown; and Precinct 4, Dennis Kocian.