Randall County Commissioners vote to keep county tax rate the same

The Randall County Commissioners’ Court voted 5-0 Tuesday to leave the property tax rate the same as last year’s — but the average homeowner will still see a bigger county tax bill.

 

The appraised value of an average homestead in Randall County increased 5.9 percent to $168,000, Randall County Judge Ernie Houdashell said.

Commissioners voted 5-0 to scoop up that extra value, setting an unchanged tax rate of 41.5 cents per $100 valuation.

“If your house went up in value, your taxes went up, but everybody is different because everyone’s home is different,” Houdashell said. “But our tax rate at this time is going to stay the same as in 2016 … we had a lot of growth in Randall County and we just felt that we really need to hold the line on our tax rate.”

Paired with taxes on new property, rising values created $3.4 million in new property tax revenue, according to a county budget document.

Houdashell said Randall County saw $435 million in new properties, including a $210 million wind farm. He said the revenue increase would have been close to nil without the wind farm joining the tax rolls.

Commissioners also voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt a budget that includes $48.6 million in general fund revenue and $43.3 million in general fund expenses.

General fund expenditures increased $475,000, the budget document said.

The increase was attributed to hiring new security officers for the county Justice Center and annex and a 2-percent pay increase for county employees “in an effort to retain experienced employees.”

“I want folks from Randall County to know that this year the commissioners did keep the tax rates the same,” Houdashell said. “But other things are out of our control.”

An independent entity called Potter-Randall County Appraisal District is responsible for appraising property values in the bi-county area.

Property owners have an opportunity each year to protest the values before PRAD finalizes them for city council members and county commissioners to use as they decide what rate to set.

PRAD has reported 4,300 protests – the most since 2007 — after an unusual increase in appraised home values. Appraisal district officials have linked the increase to rising market values driven by an unmet housing demand.

Still, major area taxing entities have voted to incorporate revenue gains from rising values into their tax collections.

Amarillo ISD and Amarillo College board have voted to leave tax rates unchanged but raise tax collections through new and reappraised property.

In Amarillo ISD, the average taxable value of residences increased by about $6,100 — from $89,604 to $95,700 — adding $73 more to the property tax bill of the average homeowner.

City of Amarillo and Potter County elected officials have both voted for rate increases on top of rising values.

INSIDE

A look at the tax rates finalized or proposed by the city’s major taxing entities. A7

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