By: Sherrie Shorten
CONROE – The Montgomery County FY 2022 budget workshop has concluded, and the citizens would like to review the proposed budget in preparation for the August 20, 2021 Public Hearing regarding the budget. However, the revisions from last week’s budget workshop have not yet been published.
Decisions during last week’s budget workshop were based on Tax Assessor-Collector Tammy McRae’s tax rate calculations. According to McRae, the certified taxable values resulted in a “No New Revenue” (NNR) tax rate of .4083 cents per $100 of property value.
Since the budget is based on certified taxable property values and the Commissioners Court annually creates a budget to spend the available property tax dollars, one would expect the calculation of certified taxable property values has been completed.
However, the Montgomery Central Appraisal District (MCAD) has not posted the 2021 certification on its website. Since Montgomery County has more than 200,000 parcels of land, the deadline to submit certified taxable values is September 1, 2021, long after the Public Hearing for citizen comments regarding the budget on August 20, 2021.
For example, in 2020, the “MCAD 2020 Certification Public” was posted to MCAD’s website along with 10 certified supplements. By September 1, 2021, the 2021 certification is required to be posted too.
The Montgomery County budget, which includes $7 million in raises for county employees, is based on the expected revenue generated from property taxes and the property taxes are based on the certified taxable values.
Chief Appraiser Tony Belinoski is responsible for certifying the taxable values and providing that number to McRae on July 25th each year. McRae’s calculations are based on the July 25th certified values and is not required by statute to update her tax rate calculations even though the FY 2022 budget funding factors have already been outlined during the budget workshop based on a NNR tax rate of .4083 cents.
However, if the actual certified taxable values from the Belinoski’s July 25th calculations vary, then the county will generate more or less revenue than expected during the budget workshop. While the changes to certified taxable values will be a small percentage compared to the total values, without posted certified taxable values, the county is preparing a budget that could end up with another year of continuous budget amendments.
Since county departments were asked to refrain from any spending requests so a 5% across the board raise could be given to the employees, the budget process was interfered with, and the department heads will most likely be back to the podium during the year to request “must have” items that were not considered during the budget workshop.
In the past, Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack has been a proponent of defending taxpayer dollars by voting against mid-year budget increases regardless of the reason. However, this year, Commissioner Noack has provided the perfect storm for mid-year spending requests by suppressing requests during the budget workshop.
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