AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The City of Amarillo said it has seen an increase in its taxable values as appraisal values for properties in Potter and Randall Counties rise.
Laura Storrs, the City’s assistant city manager and chief financial officer, said the City received its estimated taxable values from the Potter-Randall Appraisal District earlier this week.
Storrs said they receive the values in total within city limits.
“What we received was an increase in those taxable values from what the taxable values were in the prior year,” said Storrs on Thursday. “What that means—and at this point, it’s just an estimate for us—that gives time for, if there’s residence or commercial properties that want to work with PRAD on the values, whatever that may look like, our final certified values will not come until July 25 from PRAD.”
According to Storrs, as values increase, it produces more money for taxing entities.
“It works kind of like a seesaw. So, as values go up, you actually need less tax rate to produce the same money,” she said. “The vice versa is true. As your values go down, you need a greater tax rate in order to produce the same amount of money. So with greater values, the same tax rate would produce more money.”
When asked whether the City would adjust its tax rate, Storrs said, “It’s too soon to tell at this point. State law has changed over the last couple of years. Senate Bill two came out and it lowered the amount that a governing body can increase a tax rate, or increase the tax revenue from a tax rate. It used to be at an 8% amount over the prior year. Now, that is lowered to a 3.5% increase in tax revenue for maintenance and operations over the prior year.”
She continued, “If we hit that 3.5% cap, our city council will have to make a decision. They will have to say, ‘Okay, we either want to make it be whatever the cap is, or we would have to,’ they would have to call an election and go to an election.’ Early estimates indicate that we could potentially reach that cap without any change in the current tax rate.”
Storrs said the City has not started its budget workshops with the city council, which will occur in the summer. She said they will know more at that point.
She said property tax revenue goes into the City’s general fund.
“Our general fund funds the majority of our public services, from things like police, fire, streets, traffic, libraries, parks, and so on,” Storrs added. “So, it’s the bulk of our services that we provide out in the community.”
However, she said the City is dealing with inflation in its daily operations.
“Anytime we receive additional money, that helps to cover some of the increased costs that we’re incurring, just to do the normal day in, day out operations that we provide.”