Aransas County Navigation District commissioners, at their regular meeting Monday, July 20, and the Fulton Town Council, at its regular meeting the same day, took action directing Aransas County Tax Assessor-Collector Jeri Cox to calculate the voter-approval rate (formerly known as the rollback rate) as that rate calculated by taking the no new revenue maintenance and operations rate x 1.035, plus the current debt rate, plus unused increment rate.

The two entities had to chose between two options. The one they did not choose was calculating the voter-approval rate by taking the no new revenue maintenance and operations rate x 1.08, plus the current debt rate.

(Note: Aransas County commissioners and the Rockport City Council, in previous meetings, approved the second option for figuring the voter-approval rate, directing Cox to calculate the voter-approval rate by taking the no new revenue maintenance and operations rate x 1.08, plus the current debt rate. By doing so, Aransas County and the city now have the opportunity to increase the tax rate up to 8% above the effective tax rate without voter approval, this year only, due to Aransas County being declared a disaster area.)

Senate Bill 2 (approved in 2019) limits governmental entities’ ability to raise new ad valorem revenue by more than 3.5% above the previous year without a vote of the residents, unless an entity is located in an area declared a disaster area during the current tax year by the governor or president. Under that condition, an entity can increase ad valorem revenue by up to eight percent for the year following in which the disaster occurs.

ACND

ACND Harbor Master Keith Barrett told commissioners the district has historically done an incredible job keeping the tax rate at or below the effective tax rate, or that rate, which raises the same amount of money as the previous year, based on new property valuations, less new construction.

“We will stay at the effective tax rate again, hopefully,” he said.

“Even with the judge (County Judge C.H. “Burt” Mills) taking all our beach revenue (by closing the beach, twice)?” asked Commissioner Tommy Moore.

ACND Chairman Malcolm Dieckow said the district has been under a lot of pressure, but added, “I’d say stay at the effective tax rate.”

Commissioner Judy Vlasek made the motion to use option one (calculating the voter-approval rate by taking the no new revenue maintenance and operations rate x 1.035, plus the current debt rate, plus unused increment rate). Her motion was seconded, and approved unanimously by those present. Commissioners Mickey Casterline and Tony Dominguez were not in attendance.

Fulton

After little discussion about the matter, Alderwoman Beverly Garis made the motion to use option one (calculating the voter-approval rate by taking the no new revenue maintenance and operations rate x 1.035, plus the current debt rate, plus unused increment rate). Alderman Bob Loflin seconded the motion.

Discussion followed, with Aldermen Carl Biesenbach saying he liked the second option (calculating the voter-approval rate by taking the no new revenue maintenance and operations rate x 1.08, plus the current debt rate) because it gave the town more options.

Alderwoman Mary Ann Pahmiyer said the same thing, as well.

Alderman J. Mark Wagnon was also in support of using option two, for the same reason, knowing it did not commit the council to raise the tax rate.

With a motion and second on the table, the vote was taken, and option one was approved 3-2. Garis, Loflin, and Biesenbach voted for option one. Pahmiyer and Wagnon opposed the measure.

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