City Council proposes property tax rate
The Lockhart City Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed property tax rate and city budget on Tuesday, Sept. 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Council last week voted unanimously to post the tax rate up for consideration at .6354 cents per $100 property valuation, which is the same as the current rate but would bring in additional property tax revenue due to new construction and rising home values.
The no-new-revenue-rate — or amount that would generate the same revenue as in the 2020-2021 fiscal year — is .5857 cents per $100 valuation, due largely in part to a roughly $20.3 million appraised value on new construction.
Setting the tax rate at the no-new-revenue level would save homeowners an average of $100 on their tax bill, said Director of Finance Pam Larison, who said sticking to that rate would necessitate adjustments to the proposed budget totaling approximately $298,000.
Larison said the average home in Lockhart, according to the Caldwell County Appraisal District, is valued at $202,936.
“We see that with increase in our debt service, NNRV is going to put us seriously in a hole,” said Mayor Lew White prior to making a motion to set the proposed tax rate. “We have a healthy fund balance, but that’s (not) going to be with us every year unless we adjust the rate to keep up.”
A proposed tax rate of .6459 cents per $100 valuation would have necessitated voter approval.
Other highlights of the Lockhart City Council’s Aug. 17 meeting included:
— The Austin law firm, Bickerstaff Heath Delgado Acosta LLP, acting as redistricting counsel, made a presentation to council outlining the timeline of the redistricting process. The firm will start its Initial Assessment on the U.S. Census’ Data in early September, then present its findings to Council in November. Those findings include whether current City districts would require redistricting, based on population. If required, the firm will work with City Council on developing redistricting plans into Spring 2022; by which the public is invited to provide input before the adoption of a final plan. As scheduled, the redistricting process will be completed ahead of the November 2022 General Election.
— City Council formed an ad hoc committee for City Park improvements consisting of two Councilmembers—Derrick David Bryant and Jeffry Michelson—two Lockhart Chamber of Commerce representatives, two Parks Board members, and a representative of the Greater Caldwell County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. City Manager Steve Lewis and Public Works Director Sean Kelley will serve as ex officio members of the committee. The proposed park improvements include, but are not limited to, ADA compliance and upgrading the restrooms and amphitheater.