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

Austin and Travis County adopted new guidelines, recommending local residents wear face masks or fabric covering when out in public. (Christopher Neely/Community impact Newspaper)
Austin health officials are tracking 8 clusters of confirmed coronavirus cases

The clusters are groups of coronavirus cases health officials know are related to one another.

For those looking to support area restaurants while also enjoying Easter dinner, here are eight restaurants offering takeout family meals in Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto.
Where to order Easter dinner, brunch to-go in Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto

For those looking to support area restaurants while also enjoying Easter dinner, here are eight restaurants offering takeout family meals in Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto.

A $4.3 billion project to improve I-35 through Central Austin will include a $600 million piece that will be provided by deferring other projects in the area. (Courtesy Texas Department of Transportation)
Local political leaders look to free up $600 million for I-35 by potentially waiting on local projects such as Loop 360, RM 620, US 79 and Parmer Lane

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization is scheduled to vote April 13 on a list of projects to defer in order to fund an I-35 improvement project.

Pflugerville closed all city playscapes, pavilions and sports courts March 22. (Kelsey Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
GALLERY: 20 photos of Pflugerville while residents shelter in place

As residents stay in place to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, here is a photo gallery of the sights and scenes happening in Pflugerville.

David and Clare Hulama, co-owners of Bluebonnet Beer Co. in Round Rock, are selling beer to go and hand sanitizer amid coronavirus restrictions. (Taylor Jackson Buchanan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Bluebonnet Beer Co. in Round Rock innovating to overcome 'biggest challenge craft brewers have faced since prohibition'

From launching online sales for beer to go to selling hand sanitizer made by Banner Distilling Co. in Manor, David and Clare Hulama are trying to overcome coronavirus-related setbacks to their business.

Minerva, captured here, is an eastern screech owl in Northwest Austin who laid five eggs that are expected to hatch sometime in April. (Courtesy Merlin the Owl)
WATCH HERE: Northwest Austin webcam streaming owlet eggs set to hatch in April

A Northwest Austin resident set up a webcam to capture two owls raise their owlets.

Yesenia and Antonio Morales welcomed their fourth child, Luka, on March 31. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Pregnancies won't stop in a pandemic, but growing precautions leave expecting mothers uncertain and anxious

As the coronavirus tightens its grip on Austin and much of the world, inevitable human events such as pregnancy and childbirth are having to adapt in the new, cautious and socially distanced reality.

For Pflugerville-area residents with concerns about their symptoms, here is a list of in-person coronavirus testing sites. (Miranda Baker/Community Impact Newspaper)
Exhibiting coronavirus symptoms? Here are Pflugerville testing sites

For Pflugerville-area residents with concerns about their symptoms, here is a list of in-person coronavirus testing sites.

Williamson County added $2.5 million to a coronavirus relief fund April 7. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Williamson County adds $2.5M to coronavirus relief fund, reinstates weekly meetings

The Williamson County Commissioners Court meetings are being done virtually.

Williamson County predicts 100,000 sick, deaths in the hundreds during coronavirus pandemic. (Community Impact Staff)
Williamson County predicts 100,000 sick, deaths in the hundreds during coronavirus pandemic

County projections predict the peak will hit between mid-May and early June.

Coronavirus stories readers might have missed from the Austin area

Here are nine stories Austin-area readers might have missed in our previous coverage.