Under House Bill 3, a new Texas school finance law, CISD had planned to decrease its current tax rate for maintaining and operating schools by $0.07 for the 2019-20 school year. With this decrease, the new total tax rate would be $1.31 per $100 valuation, resulting in property tax savings of $486 on the average home, according to district documents.
At the Aug. 26 meeting, however, Scott Wrehe, CISD's assistant superintendent for financial services, recommended the district decrease its debt service tax rate as well. Wrehe had suggested this decrease by a $0.005 or $0.008. But trustees anticipated September property tax value estimates would be higher than what the district was told in July. With this in mind, trustees wanted to investigate decreasing the debt service tax rate by $0.01 instead.
"We have received our September property values, and those values were up $47.2 million from our certified values in July, so the additional value increase would generate approximately $160,000 of additional collections on the debt service side," Wrehe told trustees Sept. 9.
With the district lowering the debt service tax rate from $0.34 to $0.33 per $100 valuation, that results in a deficit budget for the district of $17,377, Wrehe said.
"As we discussed at the previous meeting, that’s something we feel with our fund balance that we can take that on, that small deficit. And so that does not provide concern at this time," he said.
Wrehe was commended by trustees for the effort he had put into the district's budget and tax rate decrease.
"It’s been a thorough discussion this year," trustee Danny Gilpin said. "We’ve tried to lower the tax rate as much as we can. It’s pretty exciting for our residents."
Board Vice President Michelle Moore said CISD residents have played an active role in voicing their desire for a lower tax rate.
"The opportunity for us to do eight cents when we’ve been doing half a cent over the last four years is really outstanding," she said.
Wrehe said that with the new total $1.30 tax rate, the average taxpayer would be provided $556 in tax savings.
The decision to adopt the new total tax rate was made unanimously by the board.