The adoption of the tax rate at $0.017798 per $100 in property value will equate to an annual tax payment of $24 for the average homestead. This is an increase of $1.10 over the approximate $22.90 paid annually by the average homeowner last year.
SARA is authorized by the State Legislature to collect an ad valorem tax at a maximum of $0.02 per $100 of assessed value. The tax rate must be set at the same rate throughout SARA’s four-county district, which include Bexar, Wilson, Karnes and Goliad counties and may only be used for planning and operations and maintenance.
The 2013 tax rate will generate an additional $2 million in revenue, of which $1.1 million will fund the increase in SARA’s FY 14 general fund budget associated with the new operations and maintenance costs for the eight-mile Mission Reach Ecosystem Restoration and Recreation project in Bexar County. The remaining $900,000 in added revenue will fund various water quality, flood control and park programs throughout the basin which are also supported through SARA’s tax revenues.
In June, SARA’s Board of Directors approved a budget that included a higher projected tax of $0.018431. However, when the final taxable valuations for SARA’s four-county district of Bexar, Wilson, Karnes and Goliad Counties were released in July, an overall increase in taxable valuations of 8.77% was reported. The higher than anticipated taxable valuations allowed SARA’s staff to recommend a lower tax rate than was projected in June.
“Managing the impact of increases in the tax rate is the top priority for the Board of Directors,” said Gaylon Oehlke, Chairman of the Board. “This lower tax rate at the increased property valuations generates the revenues needed to meet the increased cost for the Mission Reach maintenance while continuing to oversee vital water quality and flood mitigation projects throughout the San Antonio River Watershed.”
“Taxpayers are like our shareholders,” said Suzanne Scott, SARA General Manager. “They expect that the dollars they pay to SARA are invested wisely and used for the intended purpose of protecting and enhancing the watershed.”
A summary of the fiscal year 2013/14 total budget of $75.8 million for each of SARA’s five service areas is as follows: Flood Control - $33.2 million; Water Quality - $2.1 million; Water Resources - $0.9 million; Utilities - $28.2 million; and Park Services - $11.4 million. The fiscal year 2013/14 budget is available for review at www.sara-tx.org. SARA’s fiscal year began July 1, 2013 and runs through June 30, 2014.