Some property owners in Galveston County were not so happy with increases in their property tax appraisals.
“If you’ve been here a long time I’ve heard a lot of talk about peoples taxes going up,” homeowner Dennis Townsend said. “The one thing that bothers me as a older person, if you live in a place where the taxes can continue to go up, pretty soon they’ll force you out of your home you’ll have to sell it because you can’t afford to pay your taxes.”
Although many don’t like seeing their taxes go up it seems not very many know how the process works.
We sat down with Pct. 4 Commissioner Ken Clark to address some of the perceptions homeowners have about their property tax bills and talk about the difference between Galveston County and the Galveston Central Appraisal District.
“Really there’s no affiliation, the only connection we have is that not only the county but other taxing jurisdictions can cast votes for board members,” Clark said. “The county also picks up about 21 percent of the Galveston Central Appraisal District’s budget and that budget is shared with all the taxing jurisdictions within the county.”
According to Clark, the appraisal district works directly with the state and since Texas has no state income taxes, property tax is the largest source of funding for local services, like schools.
As the county becomes more attractive to homeowners, Clark said values go up.
“The central appraisal district takes a snapshot of everyone’s property on Jan. 1 and they look at what the market value of some of the properties are,” Clark said. “They appraise the value to that property and that’s what is transmitted to the taxing jurisdictions to bump up against their rate and that’s what determines the tax rate for each jurisdiction.”
To sum it up, Clark said Galveston County has actually lowered taxes consistently since 2009, but as appraisals continue to rise so will property tax bills.
“We are spending less today than we were spending in ‘09 and that’s an accomplishment im proud of,” he said. “We’ll continue to keep a lid on spending while improving services and that’s a benefit I think everyone will enjoy.”