NOTICE TO MASON COUNTY TAXPAYERS ABOUT THE TAX RATE AND BUDGET FOR MASON COUNTY FOR 2010
The Mason County Commissioners Court is in the process of adopting a budget for 2010 and setting a tax rate for the same period. Due to some of the conflicting and ambiguous wording requirements issued by the Legislature, the Court feels an explanation of these notices would be helpful.
Property owners and taxpayers need to be aware that the tax rate for the county is based on the values provided by the Mason County Appraisal District (MACD) and this rate is assessed on 2009 values. The proposed tax rate from which the County will operate the 2010 Budget will be the same rate that was used in last year’s budget and is actually a lower rate than the rate assessed in 2007.
The County will collect slightly more revenue in 2010 than was collected in 2009 due to the increase in appraised value of property and new properties added to the tax roll. The appraised value of property is set by the MACD according to the requirements of the State of Texas. Taxing entities do not appraise property, but they set the tax rates.
The County is required to hold three public hearings concerning the proposed tax rate and budget before adopting them. The County is also required to publish certain notices in the local paper allowing taxpayers the opportunity to receive information concerning the tax rate and budget. One of these notices contains a statement that a member of the Commissioners Court must make when adopting a tax rate; the wording being “I move that the property tax rate be “increased”by the adoption of a tax rate of $__ which is effectively a ___ percent increase in the tax rate.” Most taxpayers see the word “increase” and immediately presume that the tax rate is going up when it is actually the same or could have even been a reduction in the rate. It also goes against the grain of members of the court to have to make and vote on such a statement when in all actuality, the statement is not true!
Another notice that the County is required to publish reads that the “tax rate will raise more taxes on a $100,000 home than was raised last year.” This will not happen unless the appraised value of a home has changed. If a home was appraised at $100,000 last year and was taxed at a rate of $.5635/$100 valuation, the taxes would have been $563.50. If the home is valued at $100,000 for the current year and taxed at $.5635/$100 valuation, the taxes will be the same. If the appraised value of the home rose or fell, the total amount of taxes would change. For example, if a home was appraised at $90,000 last year, the taxes assessed would have been $507.15. If the same home received an appraised value of $100,000 this year, the taxes would be $563.50.
No one likes to pay taxes, but to operate the courts, law enforcement, road and bridge system, library, extension service, and all of the other services offered by the County, ad valorem taxes must be assessed and collected. Mason County does not have a big industrial tax base or other large sources of taxable revenue to provide a strong tax base. Mason County is mainly agricultural, small businesses and homesteads that provide the sources for tax revenue. I hope that this information can help citizens understand the process of setting the tax rate for Mason County, and I encourage them to attend the public meetings if they should have questions concerning the County budget and tax rate.
Mason County Judge