Williamson County commissioners on Aug. 31 approved the county’s budget and total tax rate for its upcoming fiscal year. The tax rate, set at $0.440846 per $100 valuation, is lower than last fiscal year’s property tax rate of $0.458719 per $100 valuation.
While the new total tax rate is lower than last year’s rate, it is higher than the effective tax rate. The effective tax rate, now known statewide as the No-New Revenue tax rate, is the rate that would “produce the same amount of taxes if applied to the same properties taxed in both years,” according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Budget presentations from early August show Williamson County’s effective tax rate for the FY 2021-22 would have been set at $0.394024 per $100 valuation.
Even with the new adopted tax rate, county officials told commissioners they expect the average homestead homeowner in Williamson County to see savings on their annual county property tax bill this year.
“Last year’s tax rate at last year’s average home value generated a tax bill of about $1,367. This year’s tax rate on the average home generates $1,353. ... So the tax bill on the average home ... is actually lowering the taxes on the average home,” said Larry Gaddes, tax assessor collector for Williamson County.
Earlier this spring, commissioners approved increasing property tax exemptions for Williamson County’s homestead owners. Exemptions for residents age 65 years old and older increased from $30,000 to $90,000, while exemptions for disabled residents increased from $20,000 to $75,000.
Commissioner Cynthia Long said those exemptions took an estimated $3 billion off Williamson County’s tax rolls.
The new tax rate goes to support Williamson County’s total $453.16 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The budget is separated into three funds—a $253.83 million general fund, a $46.88 million road and bridge fund and a $152.45 million debt service fund.
The FY 2021-22 county budget funds an across-the-board 4% cost of living salary increase for the county’s civil employees. The budget also includes a 6% cost of living salary increase for law enforcement officers specifically, as well as compensation increases for the county’s correctional officers.
According to an Aug. 31 news release from Williamson County, the budget funds 29 new positions. One-third of those new positions are first responder employees, including positions in the sheriff’s office and the emergency medical services department.
Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell added that the budget includes earmarked money for a new EMS station that will be staffed.
“For the people of Williamson County, our goal is to provide a community that is safe for you. Our goal is to provide a community that has quality of life,” Gravell said Aug. 31.
Williamson County’s new general fund budget sets aside $12.7 million for capital improvements projects across the county. Another $13.87 million will fund the county’s long range transportation plan.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Valerie Covey said the county’s new debt service fund budget includes provisions for $25 million for early debt defeasance. Covey added that the county paid off an extra $42 million in debt over the past year.
“It’s a continual approach to getting our debt down,” Covey said. “The growth we have in the county requires us to address different projects, like transportation for example, and voters have overwhelmingly approved the items on the ballot to address these issues. ... But at the same time we are trying to pay this off as soon as possible.”
Commissioners further set the tax rates for several road districts across the county. The following rates were set for specific districts in Williamson County:
- Avery Ranch Road District 1: $0.06665 per $100 valuation
- Pearson Place Road District: $0.09 per $100 valuation
- Northwoods Road District 1: $0.2453 per $100 valuation
- Somerset Hills Road District 4: $0.29 per $100 valuation
Residents can view an overview of Williamson County’s FY 2021-22 budget on the county’s website here.