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Collin County’s tax bills are expected to rise — even with little change to the tax rate

The North Texas Regional Veterans Court is the first regional veteran's court program in the U.S.
Azul Sordo
The North Texas Regional Veterans Court is the first regional veteran's court program in the U.S.

Most Collin County homeowners are likely see a higher property tax bill this year — but it’s not because of a higher property tax rate.

The average homeowner in Collin County will pay about $680 in county property taxes, about $49 more than last year. But county commissioners actually lowered tax rates slightly for the upcoming fiscal year that starts Oct. 1. They voted 4-1 to adopt a tax rate of about $0.149 cents per $100 of a home’s value during Monday’s meeting. That’s slightly less than the tax rate the county adopted last year, which was $0.152 cents per $100

The county would’ve had to lower the tax rate to the no-new revenue rate of $0.138 cents per $100 of a home’s value to keep tax bills the same. That’s because the average home value in the county went up by about 14%, which means homes have more taxable value than last year.

The county has adopted the no-new revenue rate in past years. Commissioner Susan Fletcher said in a social media post that’s why the court couldn’t lower the tax rate this year and continue funding county services.

“We had nowhere to pull from for the additional funding that was necessary this year,” Fletcher said.

She said the adopted tax rate will help keep up with the costs of growth. Collin County is the third-fastest growing county in the nation according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The population hit over one million in the recent census.

Several county services are starting to strain from that growth — the county recently added two more district courts to help serve the exploding population. The jail and animal shelter could also be expanded if four bond propositions totaling $683 million pass in November.

Fletcher and other commissioners advocated for raising county employees’ salaries by 4%. Fletcher said the average employee in Collin County serves 565 citizens, which is more citizens per staffer than other large Texas counties.

County Judge Chris Hill said during a previous commissioners’ court meeting that the county shouldn’t raise property taxes ahead of the bond election. He was the only commissioners’ court member who voted against the rate when it was adopted and when it was proposed in August.

“My concern is after we potentially raise your taxes, we’re going to ask you if you’re willing to raise your own taxes to approve the bond election,” Hill said.

Commissioner Darrell Hale said in a social media post that Hill and the commissioners all voted for a similar amount of spending in the budget — around $37 million. Commissioner Duncan Webb, who voted for the tax rate when it was proposed, voted for $35 million in spending.

“I am unsure why it was not unanimous when the court had such similarity in voting on what we felt were key issues facing the county,” Hale said.

Speakers during the public hearing for the budget and tax rate said they supported the increase in tax bills to support county services. Debbie Lindstrom said she’s grateful the commissioners voted in favor of the tax rate and budget.

“I do not relish having to pay more in taxes, but I am willing for the sake of the community,” Lindstrom said.

Lindstrom also said she hopes the increase in tax bills won’t happen again next year.

Got a tip? Email Caroline Love at clove@kera.org.

Caroline Love is a Report For America corps member for KERA News.

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Caroline Love