LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – After months of wrangling, Angelina County's 2011 budget is balanced... but at what cost to taxpayers?
"It's going to come from a combination of appraisal increases in existing property and we're proposing a 1.5 cent tax increase," said Eddie Gray, Angelina County Auditor.
Extra tax revenue from higher property values wasn't enough to cover the county's expenses.
Leaving commissioners with few options.
Their solution: a proposed tax rate hike of 1 and a half cents.
"On a $100,000 house - or a 100 thousand dollar property - that would amount to a $15.00 increase a year in county taxes," said Gray.
It may not sound like much, but could be a burden for some.
"If someone is unemployed and have no income coming in, if they own property the taxes are still due on that," said Gray.
The hike is less than if property values had decreased or stagnated, according to Interim Chief Appraiser, Paul Mayberry.
"Everything all county wide went up pretty much," said Mayberry.\
The budget's bottom line has benefited greatly from new commercial and retail businesses cropping up on the southeast side of the loop.
Plus, new home construction limited how much the tax rate can go up.
"The new houses that are built in the area of Hudson. There's a lot of new construction going on out there. And the new houses in Lufkin, Angelina County," said Mayberry.
The hike is only a proposal at this point. Any change must first be discussed in two public hearings.
The first public hearing is this Thursday at 5:30 PM. The second will be one week from tomorrow at 10 am.
The proposed budget and tax rate will then be approved or rejected by commissioners on September 14th during their regular meeting.