Tax breaks come to homeowners in San Antonio, says Mayor Nuremberg

Tax breaks on the way for heavyweight San Antonio homeowners in a thriving epidemic housing market, said Mayor Ron Nuremberg.

Many of his constituents could use soothing words. In their mailboxes, they found letters from the Baxer Appraisal District informing them of a sharp rise in property valuations, which form the basis for property tax bills.

In one year, the average home in Baxer County jumped in value from $ 250,806 to $ 309,118, an increase of 23.2 percent, according to the District of Estimates. This is a sharp increase compared to recent years – between 2015 and 2020, the average value increased by 5 to 7 percent per year.

Estimates are rising in the crowded housing market following a plague demand, and the municipality expects an increase in property tax revenues. That means San Antonio can afford to lose some revenue, said District 10 councilor Clayton Perry.

“Right now, with the inflation it’s at – the cost of living, buying food, buying gas – everything out there is going up,” Perry said. “We need to do everything we can to help our landlords stay in their homes.”

If the city does not do this, homeowners may feel they need to move outside the city limits, Perry said.

City leaders are already expecting to have to cut property taxes. In the February budget update, San Antonio’s forecast for the general fund was clear – in part because of rising house values.

But the increase means that the city is in danger of collecting more income from property taxes than allowed by state law. It can not back up more than 3.5 percent from the previous year without elections.

As a result, San Antonio expects a 2 to 3-cent reduction in the city’s current property tax rate of 55.83 cents to $ 100 from the value of the taxable property, said Troy Elliott, the deputy chief financial officer.

Increasing the exemption of residential housing in the city is the main option for tax relief that the City Council is considering. An exemption on an estate lowers the taxable value of a home and thus lowers the taxes paid on it.

The tax breaks were a signature issue for North Side councilor John Courage, who represents District 9, and most councilors said Wednesday they want to see some form of decline for homeowners.

“I strongly support a tribute exemption,” said District 1 councilor Mario Bravo.

District Council member Adriana Rocha Garcia also wanted to see more tax breaks for people with disabilities.

Increasing such tax relief measures will reduce the city’s revenue – which will help when the city is expected to lower its property tax rate later this year, Courage said.

Home valuations, skyrocketing property taxes

With property tax increases so high, a reduced municipal property tax rate alone does not necessarily mean homeowners will pay less – but combined with a home exemption, the relief could be greater, Elliott said.

The municipality’s current exemption is 0.01 percent, or a minimum of $ 5,000 per household. City forecasts show the exemption would have to jump to 10% if it makes a significant difference for those homes valued at $ 100,000.

Some of them, including District 3 councilor Phyllis Viagran, fear that increasing the farm’s exemption would not be fair. Estimates show that most reliefs will reach North Side 7, 8, 9 and 10 counties, where home values ​​are often higher.

“We need a bigger exemption than we have now, whatever it looks like,” said District Councilor Manny Plaza.

The city council has a deadline of July 1 to approve an exemption on the estate if it chooses to do so.

Police, infrastructure and other budget priorities

As city officials begin planning for fiscal year 2022-2023, resources for the San Antonio Police Department may be a more controversial budget discussion.

Budget officers want to keep public security spending at a rate of no more than 66% of the general fund.

But some council members, including Perry and Plaza, said San Antonio needed more cops.

“I do not think we have increased the police department in line with the growth of the city,” Perry said.

Others, including East Side councilman Jellen McKee-Rodriguez, did not support investing more money in the police department.

The biggest expense in the city budget is for employees. San Antonio is looking at its entrance fee – $ 15.60 an hour – to see if it still fits, said Renee Frida, human resources manager. About 237 employees are currently receiving this salary.

As an employer, the city was not immune to the effects of the epidemic labor market – from fears of labor shortages to the “great resignation.” The municipality is undergoing market analysis of its salaries and reshaping its wage plans for civilian workers, which does not include police and firefighters.

Basic infrastructure is also a top priority for many city council members. How to fix the “F streets” of the city, which get a failing grade for their condition, was a major issue. The team presented various options on Wednesday.

Most councilors also said they wanted to be more proactive about drainage projects in their counties and had specific proposals. Council members Terry Castillo, District 5, and Anna Sandoval, District 7, sought sufficient funding to ensure the establishment of a targeted drainage committee that could assist in building a master plan for flood control.

Sandoval wants to see more funding for sidewalks as well. She wanted to start a conversation about asking ventures to pay a fund that would increase money for sidewalks.

Housing and mental health programs are also expected to appear in San Antonio’s budget.

The city staff will put together an “experience budget” for May based on the city council working meeting on Wednesday. Residents can soon share their budget priorities through an online survey on the SA Speak Up website.

The budget call began earlier this year earlier than usual to allow more time for public feedback. The city council is expected to vote on a final budget in September.

Richard Webner contributed to this story.

Leave a Comment