The board of managers for Travis County’s health care district, Central Health, voted Wednesday to approve a guaranteed maximum property tax rate for the 2018-19 fiscal year. The final tax rate and budget will be set following two public hearings and additional votes by Central Health and Travis County Commissioners Court in mid-September.
Managers voted 8-0 to approve a maximum rate of 10.5221 cents per $100 of taxable valuation or 6 percent over the effective property tax rate.
The FY 2017-18 tax rate was 10.7385 cents.
The original draft budget that was presented to the board of managers on July 25 proposed a maximum tax rate of 10.3742 cents per $100 valuation or 4.5 percent over the effective tax rate. Upon further review and input from community members at several community input meetings, the Central Health financial team proposed a new guaranteed maximum tax rate that would help increase Central Health’s reserve funds, according to the presentation.
While this FY 2018-19 tax rate is lower than the previous rate, it would still result in an average increase in taxes paid to the health care district by Travis County residents because the average taxable home value has increased in the last year, according to the budget presentation.
Manager Maram Musetif said she understood the concerns of residents seeing higher tax bills but also felt the new tax rate would create more financial stability for Central Health to achieve its goals of increasing access to health care in Travis County.
“I want the community to know that we are vigilant and we understand the impact that may have on certain people and especially homeowners in the lower categories [of home prices],” Musetif said. “But comparing to other [health care] districts, we have one of the lowest rates. We need to provide services and in addition to that we need to be in a good financials standing.”
Prior to final approval in September, the draft budget and proposed rate are subject to change based on public input and deliberation among the board of managers and Travis County Commissioners.
Central Health will present an updated draft of the budget at two public hearings at the Central Health Building at 1111 E. Cesar Chavez St., Austin, at 6 p.m. Aug. 29 and 5:30 p.m. Sept. 5.
It will undergo final approval from Central Health and Travis County Commissioner’s Court in mid-September.