LCM CISD facing possible tax increase

Published 10:22 am Monday, August 20, 2018

To The Leader

During the business portion of the Little Cypress-Mauriceville CISD Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, August 13, the Board continued to review expected revenues and expenditures for the very difficult upcoming budget.  Taxable values of property in the District declined by more than $29 million due primarily to Hurricane Harvey damage.  State funding for the District will also be less next year due to a loss in students after the storm.  The District had to obtain a loan of $15 million last year to be able to make needed hurricane repairs while waiting on FEMA funding to come through.  The repayment of that loan starts in the upcoming budget which, along with increased insurance costs, make up the bulk of almost $1.4 million in increased expenditures.  However, almost $1 million was cut in other areas of the budget including almost $700,000 in positions that were not filled when employees resigned.  With these reductions, the overall increases to the budget are less than 1% or about $344,000.

At this week’s meeting, the Board made the decision to publish the proposed 2019 tax rate that the Board will vote on at the public meeting to discuss the budget and proposed tax rate which will be at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 28, 2018.  The proposed rate is 13 cents higher than last year’s rate.  Even with the tax rate increase and the reductions to expenditures, the budget is expected to be deficit by $2.2 million.

Although the proposed tax rate is above the rollback rate, there will not be a rollback election as Texas Property Tax Code Section 26.08 allows school districts to adopt a tax rate higher than the rollback rate in the year following a hurricane or other disaster without a rollback election.  This only applies for one year.  Although the tax rate may be increasing, some taxpayers may not see an actual increase in taxes if their property values are down.  The average market value of residences in LCM was $122,024 last year but is only $110,208 this year.  When exemptions are applied to those average rates, the taxes due is $54 less than last year when the increased tax rate is applied.

Last year’s M&O rate was $1.04, and the I&S rate was $0.39 for a total of $1.43. There have been no changes in the District’s tax rate since 2015. This year, the proposed I&S rate will stay at $0.39, but the proposed M&O rate is $1.17 for a total of $1.56.  This will be reconsidered next year, but for the M&O rate to stay the same, a rollback election will have to be held at that time.