Hutto's Senior Watch group advocates for proposed senior citizen tax freeze

Under a freeze option, the ordinance would freeze the amount of taxes a resident pays once they turn 65 and has a homestead. (Kelsey Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Under a freeze option, the ordinance would freeze the amount of taxes a resident pays once they turn 65 and has a homestead. (Kelsey Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)

Under a freeze option, the ordinance would freeze the amount of taxes a resident pays once they turn 65 and has a homestead. (Kelsey Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)

Several of Hutto's senior citizen residents spoke before Hutto City Council at its Feb. 20 meeting, advocating in favor of a proposed senior tax and homestead exemption that would freeze seniors' property tax rate once they turn 65.

The group of residents, referred to as Senior Watch, wore red shirts at council's meeting and addressed the dais during the city's public comment period. The proposed freeze option referenced by the group dated back to council's Jan. 16 meeting. Under a freeze option, the ordinance would freeze the amount of taxes a resident pays once they turn 65 and has a homestead. This version is only applicable to the city's maintenance and operations portion of its tax rate and does not apply to its interest and sinking rate.

Former Hutto Mayor Debbie Holland spoke before council Feb. 20 as a representative of Hutto's senior community. Holland said that a "concerted effort" had been made by council to connect with senior residents in the past several months and that an ongoing dialogue is necessary to ensure seniors' perspectives and experiences are heard and represented in council action.

"Vibrant communities have a diversified population," Holland said.

According to data from the 2018 American Community Survey five-year estimates, Hutto has 1,096 residents aged 65 and older, encompassing approximately 4.6% of its in-city population. Holland said that while there are just under 1,100 senior households within the city, senior citizens are civically engaged residents who also fulfill part-time jobs, school mentorship positions and volunteer efforts within the city.


“The world functions better when there is balance," Holland said. "The seniors of Hutto need the city as much as the city needs the seniors.”

Hutto City Council will host a work session at 5 p.m. on Feb. 27, ahead of its special-called meeting, to discuss three proposals for a senior tax and homestead exemption. City staff and Williamson County Tax Accessor-Collector Larry Gaddes will be present to field residents' questions and go through each proposal's potential impact on the city's budget.

The city of Hutto currently adheres to Texas' tax and homestead exemption for disabled veterans. Once enacted, the approved senior tax and homestead exemption would not go into effect until fiscal year 2020-21's tax rate and budget.
SHARE THIS STORY
By Kelsey Thompson

Kelsey Thompson is the reporter for Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto, where her work focuses on education, city government and community development. Originally from upstate New York, Kelsey relocated to Austin after graduating from Syracuse University in May 2019.


MOST RECENT

Williamson County is moving to a virtual platform for Commissioners Court.  (Ali Linan/ Community Impact Newspaper)
Williamson County moves to virtual platform for Commissioners Court

Public comment will still take place at the courthouse; however, commissioners will attend virtually.

A Capital Metro employee who worked as a bus mechanic has died after testing positive for the coronavirus. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Capital Metro employee who tested positive for coronavirus dies

The individual worked as a bus mechanic. Capital Metro announced April 2 he and three other employees tested positive for the virus.

(Taylor Jackson Buchanan, Community Impact Newspaper)
City of Pflugerville to close all parks Easter weekend, April 10-13

All parks maintained by the city of Pflugerville will be closed Easter weekend, city staff announced April 4.

(Graphic illustration courtesy Jay Jones/Community Impact Newspaper)
‘We’ve got this’: Central Texas librarians step up to help their communities amid coronavirus pandemic

The example in Bee Cave appears to be just one of many stories relating how, amid the COVID-19 crisis, librarians are helping their communities throughout the Greater Austin area.

(Courtesy Round Rock Sports Center)
VIRTUAL TO-DO LIST: 9 Round Rock, Pflugerville-area activities to stream from home April 6-12

Here is a roundup of free workouts, book discussions, painting classes and more this week.

Before class is officially back in session, here are five things to know about Round Rock ISD’s digital curriculum. (Courtesy Fotolia)
5 things to know ahead of Round Rock ISD’s April 6 e-learning launch

Before class is officially back in session, here are five things to know about Round Rock ISD’s digital curriculum.

Nearly a week and a half after launching, Round Rock Cares has received more than 140 applications and approximately $900,000 in financial assistance requests. (Community Impact Staff)
More than 80 small businesses receive funds from Round Rock Cares

Nearly a week and a half after launching, Round Rock Cares has received more than 140 applications and approximately $900,000 in financial assistance requests.

Economic relief options for small business owners include the Small Business Administration's Economic Injury Disaster Loan. (Community Impact Newspaper Staff)
Has your Austin-area small business been affected by the coronavirus? Here are resources you can access.

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering a short-term loan program intended to help cover payroll and a separate, long-term loan program intended to help business owners stay afloat.

A recent string of incidents where Zoom meetings have been “hacked” has put the future viability of teleconferencing security in doubt. (Courtesy Pixabay)
String of racist attacks via videoconferencing software leads to heightened security concerns

A recent string of incidents where Zoom meetings have been “hacked” has put the future viability of teleconferencing security in doubt.

Round Rock, Pflugerville, Hutto community rises up to help neighbors, businesses in need

From local pastors to school nurses to young professionals working from home, community members are using the resources they have—be it an hour of time to go to the grocery store or an extra roll of toilet paper—to lend a helping hand in a time of need.

St. David's HealthCare has temporarily consolidated services provided by St. David's Surgical Hospital, St. David's Emergency Center—Bee Cave and St. David's Emergency Center—Cedar Park. (Evan Marczynski/Community Impact Newspaper)
St. David’s temporarily closes three Austin locations, redeploys resources during COVID-19 pandemic

St. David’s Emergency Center locations in Bee Cave and Cedar Park temporarily closed April 1.