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San Marcos City Council weighs 1-cent property tax reduction

Saturday, August 27, 2022

San Marcos residents may see a reduction from last year’s property taxes heading into Fiscal Year (FY) 2023.

City staff proposed lowering the 60.30 cent property tax per $100 assessed property value to 59.30 cents at San Marcos City Council’s last 2022-2023 FY Proposed Budget meeting.

The proposal was not without its share of skepticism. Councilmember Shane Scott suggested that the opposite approach might be needed to keep up with future growth.

“Our future’s going to be important on this growth thing, guys,” Scott said. “We weren’t careful 10 years ago when I said we’re going to be the Beverly Hills of Central Texas because we’re not going to be able to afford to live here. If we’re not on top of this with the right staff and the right people, we’re going to be in trouble.”

A 1-cent reduction in the 2022 FY property tax rate would amount to a $700,000 loss in property tax revenue, according to data presented by City Finance Director Jonathan Locke.

Although the decrease would appear to suggest savings for taxpayers, property taxes under the proposal would still be higher than the city’s No New Revenue Rate of 54.59 cents.

City staff also proposed that this year’s budget account for a 5% salary adjustment and one-time retention incentives for non-civil service personnel, as well as 47 personnel additions, including six public safety positions, three development services positions, a project engineer, four support services positions, a library clerk, two animal adoption specialists, and one natural area maintenance worker.

At the meeting, San Marcos Police Department Police Chief Stan Standridge shared his rationale for incorporating three public safety liaisons into the city budget.

“They’re going to be a force multiplier for your patrol division,” he said. “They can be out doing all of these lesser offense case reports, while the patrol officers are focused on reducing violent crime.”

After listening to Standridge’s comments, councilmembers voted 5-1 to keep the maximum proposed tax rate at 60.30, allowing flexibility within the budget to support hiring additional public safety personnel.

Councilors will hold a first reading and public hearing on the proposed budget on Tuesday, Sept.  6. Final budget decisions will be made at the second reading Sept. 20.

San Marcos Record

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P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666