AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — On Tuesday, the Amarillo City Council held its regularly scheduled meeting and voted to set the maximum proposed property tax rate for fiscal year 2023-2024.
The new tax rate is not final, but the council voted unanimously on Tuesday to decide on the ceiling for its new property tax rate at the voter approval rate of 39.867 cents, which was recommended by City staff.
“Our current property tax rate in the current fiscal year is just over 40 cents at 40.628 cents,” Laura Storrs, the assistant city manager and CFO for the City of Amarillo, said to the council during the meeting. “This voter approval tax rate, which is the top end that you could go to without going to an election is calculated this year at 39.867 cents. So you’ll notice that it actually the rate actually came down.”
Storrs said the tax rate went down because property values increased in Amarillo.
“On a $100,000 home, that’s a $1 per month decrease…” Storrs said, noting it was based on a calculation from the 2022 tax rate to the voter approval rate for 2023. “Another way we look at it is on an average home value. So the average home values did change this year. They went from about 188 last year, 188,000 to about 199,000 this year. So the same tax rates applied on an average property, it would produce about a $3 per month increase.”
She noted while the tax rate would be lower, property tax revenues would still increase by 3.5%.
“We anticipate we would see an increase in operating funding to the city of Amarillo, it comes in at about $4.9 million more in increased revenue to the city of Amarillo,” Storrs said. “And that stays inside the city’s general fund. That goes to pay for services like police, fire, streets, parks and rec, library services, all those various things. Most of the city’s services are in our general fund and property tax dollars can be applied to those services.”
Storrs added, “In last year’s case, we saw about $750,000 in growth in revenue off of the property tax rate. Part of that was because we did have new properties coming on to the tax rolls. This year, we’ve seen a much larger number of properties come on new to the property tax rolls.”
The council could still choose to lower the tax rate even further and will meet two more times on the matter.
“We’re still leaving ourselves a full month to be able to come back and and either propose a lower one, or be able to show our community where all that money’s going and why it’s money well spent,” said Mayor Cole Stanley.
Storrs said they will have a first reading on the tax rate on Sept. 12 at 3 p.m. Then, a public hearing will take place on Sept. 19 at 3 p.m. before the council has a second hearing and a final vote.
“So there will be a great opportunity to have citizens come forward on it. And also, is it is a little tricky because everybody’s appraised values did something a little different this year, depending on your circumstance,” she continued. “Certainly we’ll always encouraged citizens to seek that homestead exemption because that certainly does change a circumstance in a year of growing appraised values.”