The exemptions for homeowners who are disabled and over 65 years old were both $75,000 since 2019 and were raised to $200,000 and $100,000, respectively. Council members were in general agreement that providing more significant tax cuts to the disabled population was a top priority.
“It’s almost a no-brainer, really, at this point,” Mayor Bobby Warren said. “That is a very vulnerable population. Fixed-income doesn’t even begin to describe, probably, what many are dealing with who qualify for that exemption, and it can make a big impact in their lives, so I would tend to support that.”
The increase will cost the city about $28,900 in lost revenue, but the 32 homeowners who qualify for this exemption will save an average of $904. Additionally, the over-65 population will cost the city about $155,500 in lost revenue, and the 788 residents who qualify will save an average of $181, according to city documents.
Council Member Gary Wubbenhorst was the sole member to vote against the homestead exemption changes. He said he believes providing further tax breaks to homeowners does not make fiscal sense as city costs are on the rise.
“I don’t understand the logic that’s being applied here because I don’t want to see my city go into decay, and this action tonight, to me, is going the wrong direction,” he said.
Warren said the city's residential property values have increased year over year, but commercial property valuations are down. Overall property tax revenues in Jersey Village are estimated to be up by about 1% since last year.
“This [property tax] system is inherently flawed. I don’t think anyone likes the property tax system—no one up here, no one out there,” Warren said. “It makes things very difficult to be able to balance the needs of the city along with the needs of taxpayers.”
In 2019, the Jersey Village City Council unanimously voted in favor of raising the disabled and over-65 exemptions from $25,000 to $75,000 and from $50,000 to $75,000, respectively. Before 2019, the city last increased its homestead exemption in 2003. The $50,000 exemption for residents over 65 was implemented in 2009, and the city did not offer any such exemption before then.
Texas law has a maximum homestead exemption of 20%, but there are no limits on exemptions local entities can choose to offer to disabled residents and residents over the age of 65.