At its Aug. 20 meeting, the board approved unanimously the proposed tax rate, which will be lower than the $1.2344 effective tax rate for 2019-20 from the Montgomery County Tax Office. The effective tax rate is defined as the tax rate required to generate the same revenue as the previous year; the 2018-19 adopted tax rate was $1.28.
“We have been working with our financial adviser, and this plan is more aggressive, but it is not irresponsible,” Chief Financial Officer Darrin Rice said.
Rice said the previously proposed rate was $1.235. He said in order to lower the tax rate, the board will transfer $1,749,657 from the debt service fund to bring the debt service rate from $0.265 to $0.26. The maintenance and operations rate will remain at $0.97.
“The state of Texas made these bold promises that taxes were going to go down, and what they meant was tax rates were going to go down, but because of property values, it doesn't necessarily mean your tax bills [are] going down,” trustee Skeeter Hubert said. “And doing this, we’re able to meet all of our obligations and also provide Conroe Independent School District taxpayers that actual tax bill relief that was promised.”
The board also approved its 2019-20 budget of $539.6 million in expenditures and $555.6 million in revenue. Rice clarified that the prospective Nov. 5 $677.37 million bond is not included in the budget and would not require a tax rate increase.
In the public hearing, which was held before the tax rate was approved, several taxpayers scolded the board for raising the tax rate above the effective rate. Citizens have previously stated they would not support the board or the bond if they raised the tax rate above the effective rate.
The board’s next regular meeting will be Sept. 17 at 6 p.m. at 3205 W. Davis St., Conroe.