Residents of Live Oak are likely to see a slight dip in their tax rate next year as the City Council continues its examination of its budget for the coming fiscal year.
However, residents may end up paying slightly more than they are this year if the value of their homes increased significantly.
A public hearing is set for Aug. 28 to allow residents to address the city’s proposal to adopt an effective tax rate of 0.437087 cents per $100 of property valuation. That’s down from the current fiscal year’s rate of 0.443475 cents per $100, according to Leroy Kowalik, city finance director.
At its July 31 regular meeting, Kowalik briefed the council on the status of the effective tax rate, which is the tax rate that is necessary to bring in approximately the same amount of total tax revenue as the previous year.
The reason for the proposed rate decline is that the average market value of a Live Oak home is increasing.
The 2017-18 tax season was based on homes that averaged $159,428 last year. That value has gone up for the coming year, to a value of $166,655, he said.
The final amount each home owner will be charged with the proposed 0.437807 property tax depends on the property value assigned to their home by the Bexar Appraisal District.
Kowalik said the budget includes a standard 2 percent market adjustment for the city pay scale, the same amount applied to the previous year’s budget.
With IKEA opening a store in the Live Oak Town Center next year, the budget includes hiring three more police officers.
“The biggest change to the budget is on the public safety side, where we are adding three new uniformed police officers,” Kowalik said, “just to make way and to stay ahead of the construction and to reinforce the police force as we have it now.
“As we see it, public safety is the first aspect to be affected by the construction, with increased traffic, and the need to protect the area, as big as that project is,” he added.
City Manager Scott Wayman addressed the council on the city’s budget expectations and conservative nature in adopting tax rates.
“We’ve had a lot of luck with this budget,” Wayman said, “and I think we’re working real conservatively with the numbers that are going to be coming in from IKEA, what we’re going to have for that third building for Randolph Brooks (Federal Credit Union), and also coming in with the property tax this year.”
In addition to the IKEA-Live Oak Town Center construction and the Randolph Brooks headquarters expansion, Wayman said developments at Northeast Methodist Hospital are also part of the equation.
“There have been a lot of improvements at the hospital that I think are going to bolster the numbers. I think we’re comfortable on this (effective tax rate). Then next year, we’ll have a better handle on what our property values will be, with the inclusion of those three big developments,” he said.
The city’s 2018-19 fiscal year begins Oct. 1.