Homeowners in Manvel will now have a 10% homestead exemption on their property tax bills after City Council unanimously approved a new ordinance at its June 17 meeting.

The new exemption is expected to net residents a savings of around $186 on the city portion of their property tax bill, but officials cautioned that those numbers, as well as revenue for the city, are still just estimates at this point.

What you need to know

The homestead exemption will mean residents are only taxed on 90% of their property’s total value. For example, only $270,000 of a $300,000 home will be taxed, while the remaining $30,000 will not be.

Budget estimates show the exemption will cost the city’s budget around $952,000 in revenue.

Prior to the homestead exemption, city officials were looking at a projected nearly $1.9 million surplus for its fiscal year 2024-25 budget, according to agenda documents. The exemption, in addition to a 3% cost-of-living adjustment totaling around $300,000, will leave a surplus of roughly $600,000.

However, officials clarified that these numbers are just estimates.

What they’re saying

A handful of residents spoke at the June 17 meeting, as well as at the June 10 meeting where the item received its first of two approvals. Nearly all residents spoke in favor of the exemption.

However, some City Council members mentioned comments they’d received outside of the meeting were not in favor of the exemption due to the possible revenue loss.

Resident Kelly Clawson said at the June 17 meeting that putting money back into the pockets of residents would help bring businesses into town. She said she used to go out and eat several times a week, but with the property taxes she has to pay due to her home increasing in value in recent years, she can’t do that anymore.

“You can get small businesses in if we had money to spend,” Clawson said. “Please help us to be able to put money back into the community.”

Some council members highlighted the concern of the city’s finances being tighter as a result of the exemption. Council member David Lands said he was worried about the possibility of an economic downturn or having other expenses come up down the road.

However, given recent business developments in town, he said he believes the city is in a good place to offer the exemption.

“It’s a leap of faith to say I think we can do this, but at the same time, I want to throw out a warning card,” Lands said. “We can do this, but if things happen outside of our control, we have to be prepared for that and accept that as it comes.”

The background

Over 60% of cities in Brazoria County have some level of a homestead exemption, city officials said June 10. Manvel is the lone major city in Brazoria County without one for the wider community. Others in the area include:
  • Pearland with 2.5%
  • Angleton with 3%
  • Iowa Colony with 10%
  • Alvin with 20%
  • Clute with 20%
  • Freeport with 20%
In a survey from last year, more than 70% of residents said they didn’t want taxes to go up. Mayor Dan Davis said he has also seen that a majority of residents would rather delay projects if it meant their taxes could go down.

“It’s never the right time to lose revenue, ... but we are public servants,” Davis said June 10. “And being in the mindset of servitude is placing others' needs before your own. And we have to choose to put the community’s needs before the needs of the government.”

Originally, the city was looking at a 5% homestead exemption, but City Council opted to increase it to 10% at its June 10 meeting.

Prior to the new one, the city had a homestead exemption in place for those over 65 years old, according to city documents.

What’s next?

The numbers given at the meeting are estimates and will depend on certified home values. Budget discussions will begin in July, with August and September being when the city makes final decisions on the tax rate and budget, Davis said June 18.