County delivers tiny tax rate cut
Dave Rogers / For The Record
As a gesture, it was token.
Orange County commissioners’ court authorized a tax rate cut of 2/10ths of a penny per $100 property value Tuesday.
In the process, they delivered in spirit if not substance the reduction for taxpayers they had set as a goal before Hurricane Harvey ripped through Orange County Aug. 26-30, flooding an estimated 80 percent of homes.
Lowering the tax rate from 54.4 cents per $100 to 54.2 cents per $100 means a reduction of $2 for a homeowner with a $100,000 home – if the tax value stays the same from last year.
But county-wide home values were increased 7.5 percent between Jan. 1, 2016 and Jan. 1, 2017.
The tax rate and county tax values will generate $38.2 million in revenue for the 2017-18 county budget, County Judge Stephen Brint Carlton said.
Commissioners voted unanimously on the tax rate and also to approve a $59.4 million budget that includes all of the county’s $14.8 million “rainy day fund.”
Judge Stephen Brint Carlton said the money was put into the budget to keep from having to borrow money to pay up-front expenses like an expected $16 million to $20 million for debris removal that should be mostly reimbursed later by FEMA.
Commissioners also set a 1 p.m. Oct. 3 hearing to review and set a county-wide election date for an Orange County hospital district. They received an authorized hospital district petition from a citizens group about a week ago.
City of Orange approves tax rate first reading
Orange city council voted unanimously after the first of two readings setting a tax rate of 71.774 cents per $100 value for 2017 Tuesday. The second reading and final vote will be at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 26.
Also at the short meeting, council OK’d suspending the regular bid process to repair storm damage at Fire Station No. 2, and city wastewater lift stations.
City manager Shawn Oubre stressed the need for citizens to sort their storm debris per the well-advertised FEMA standards if they wanted it hauled away.