Hutto City Council greenlights senior property tax exemption

Hutto City Council formally approved a $60,000 homestead exemption for citizens age 65 and older at its March 19 meeting, the first of three possible exemptions to receive council approval. (Courtesy city of Hutto)
Hutto City Council formally approved a $60,000 homestead exemption for citizens age 65 and older at its March 19 meeting, the first of three possible exemptions to receive council approval. (Courtesy city of Hutto)

Hutto City Council formally approved a $60,000 homestead exemption for citizens age 65 and older at its March 19 meeting, the first of three possible exemptions to receive council approval. (Courtesy city of Hutto)

Hutto City Council formally approved a $60,000 homestead exemption for citizens age 65 and older at its March 19 meeting, the first of three possible exemptions to receive council approval. The final ordinance reading was approved with a 5-0 vote, with Council Member Tanner Rose and Mayor Pro Tem Tom Hines absent from the meeting.

According to a presentation from Hutto Chief Financial Officer Michel Sorrell, the $60,000 senior homestead exemption would affect city revenue by approximately $276,000. While the ordinance was approved March 19, council agreed that given the economic impact of COVID-19, the infectious disease caused by the coronavirus, it may have to revisit the exemption prior to its July 1 deadline.

"Based on what we know right now, so much has changed in three weeks," Council Member Mike Snyder said.

Council Member Patti Martinez agreed with Snyder's stance and said the city needs to be cognizant of the loss in sales tax revenue it is experiencing from bar and restaurant dine-in closures. Martinez added it is currently an "unknown anomaly" how the economic situation could progress.

Sorrell said that the city's current budget accounts for $7.8 million in revenue funds related to property taxes and that while it is difficult to answer the coronavirus's impact on tax revenue at this time, the $276,000 approximation is a small percentage overall.


Council also approved two separate agenda items March 19: the first reading for a disabled persons exemption and the first reading of an ad valorem homestead tax ceiling for senior residents age 65 and older or those with disabilities. Each passed with a 5-0 vote.

For the proposed disabled persons exemption, Sorrell said this would also call for a $60,000 exemption and confirmed that the city currently has fewer than 100 residents who qualify for it. Paired with the senior homestead exemption, this would have an impact of approximately $335,000 on city revenue.

Citizens eligible for both a senior homestead exemption and a disabled persons one can only apply for one of the two, as confirmed by Sorrell on March 19 and by Larry Gaddes, Williamson County tax assessor-collector, at a Feb. 27 council workshop. Sorrell also added that social security eligibility will help confirm which Hutto residents qualify for the disabled persons exemption.

The third exemption proposal discussed March 19 was the first ordinance reading on an ad valorem tax ceiling for citizens age 65 and older as well as for those with disabilities. Per Williamson County, while some entities use the terms "freeze" and "ceiling" interchangeably, the correct phrasing is "ceiling," as it refers to a cap placed on the maximum dollar value an eligible resident would pay on their property tax bill.

If formally adopted, the ceiling would go into effect for fiscal year 2020-21 property tax bills. An important exception to this ceiling, council noted March 19, is if significant work is done on a resident's homestead that increased its assessed value as a result, so, too, would the resident's ceiling. An example of this situation given by Gaddes on Feb. 27 would be the addition of a pool to a resident's homestead property. Should this case arise, the county would assess the value of the additions to the homestead and add it to the overall ceiling.

A second and final ordinance reading is required for both the disabled persons exemption and the ad valorem tax ceiling prior to formal adoption.
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

Site features include sun rooms, libraries, a beauty salon, a multimedia screening room, a bistro and a cafe. (Courtesy Investcor Development)
Sun rooms, cafe, dog park: What's planned for upcoming Pflugerville assisted-living site

The assisted-living and memory care facility will include 66 studio and one- and two-bedroom units, as well as 24 memory care units overseen by a 24-hour staff.

The mobile business offers more than 60 flavors of gourmet popsicles and will travel throughout the Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto region. (Courtesy Frios Goumet Pops)
Frios Gourmet Pops brings artisan popsicles to Pflugerville, and 4 other business updates to know

The mobile business offers more than 60 flavors of gourmet popsicles and will travel throughout the Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto region.

The daily coronavirus update did not come out on Oct. 19 and 20. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Williamson County daily coronavirus update stalled after inconsistencies are found

The daily coronavirus update did not come out on Oct. 19 and 20.

Round Rock ISD announced Oct. 20 that DeWayne Street will be the district's first chief equity officer. (Courtesy Round Rock ISD)
Round Rock ISD names DeWayne Street chief equity officer

In August, the RRISD board of trustees approved spending $1.2 million to establish a RRISD Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion with six full-time positions. Street will lead the department.

As of close of polls Oct. 19, 56,518 votes had been cast at Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto's polling sites during Week 1 of early voting, which ran from Oct. 13-19. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
More than 56K votes cast in Round Rock, Pflugerville, Hutto during Week 1 of early voting

As of close of polls Oct. 19, 56,518 votes had been cast at Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto polling sites during Week 1 of early voting, which ran from Oct. 13-19.

Graphic visualization of coronavirus
UT experts predict a 96% chance of worsening COVID-19 rates in Travis County in coming weeks

Travis County's health authority says individual actions can still turn the tide.

Early voting at the Ben Hur Shrine Temple
Some Austin-area polling locations have recorded 10,000-plus votes through first week of early voting

Three Williamson County polling locations have each reported more than 10,000 ballots cast in the first week of early voting.

Capital Metro celebrated the opening of a renovated and expanded downtown Austin MetroRail hub Oct. 19. (Courtesy Capital Metro)
Capital Metro opens downtown Austin station and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Austin area.

Photo of a wall of "I voted" stickers
More than 30% of Travis County voters have cast their ballot in first week of early voting

Both in-person voting and by-mail voting in Travis County are up compared to the first week of early voting in 2016.