Montgomery County services

Commissioner breaks down property tax spending

With government spending under increasingly greater amounts of scrutiny, elected officials in Montgomery County want to make it clear exactly how the tax revenue the county collects is being used.

The average home in Montgomery County is valued at $198,320, according to the Montgomery County Appraisal District. On average, county residents are paying about $960 each year—or $80 each month—in property taxes to the county, Precinct 2 Commissioner Craig Doyal said.

"It's important for people to realize the value they're getting for the money they pay each month," Doyal said. "Most people don't realize where those tax dollars go."

Property taxes make up about 66 percent of the county's total revenue. The county collected approximately $166 million in property taxes in 2011.

Montgomery County collects property tax from county residents who live in unincorporated areas where city services are not available. The 2011 census estimated the county's population to be around 471,000, making it the 10th largest county of the 254 total in the state of Texas. More than 80 percent of Montgomery County residents live in unincorporated areas and require county services in place of city services that are not available, according to J. R. Moore, tax assessor-collector.

County tax money funds a variety of services ranging from law enforcement to veteran services to the county's road and bridge department.

Mobility and transportation projects in particular are critical to keep the county functioning, Doyal said.

"We're trying desperately to stay ahead of the curve as our county continues to grow," he said. "The need for mobility is getting harder and harder to meet with the dollars we have to maintain the roads in place and construct new ones."

Doyal said he believes the money residents are taxed each month is reasonable given the list of services they receive in return.

"For the cost that a lot of people will spend on cable TV alone, they're funding the sheriff's department, mobility projects and so much more," he said.

By Shawn Arrajj
Shawn Arrajj serves as the editor of the Cy-Fair edition of Community Impact Newspaper where he covers the Cy-Fair and Jersey Village communities. He mainly writes about development, transportation and issues in Harris County.