Karnes City Independent School District’s board of trustees approved a slightly lower tax rate for the 2021-22 fiscal year and will not raise any additional taxes.
The board authorized a total tax rate of $1.0902 per $100 property valuation for the next fiscal year, compared to a $1.0932 tax rate that ends Sept. 30.
Bettinae Kaiser said the new tax rate “will be enough to support the budget y’all agreed to.” That 2021-22 approved budget is $35,053,732, which includes $3,299,497 for debt service.
The district has received certified property values from both the Karnes County and Atascosa County appraisal districts, and property values have decreased from $5.2 billion in 2020 to $3.5 billion in 2021.
Victor Quiroga, with Specialized Public Finance, gave an overview of the district’s plans to pay for a new elementary school and career and technology education center through the issuance of bonds.
“You are moving forward on what voters approved (in the 2020 bond election),” he said. “The good news is that interest rates are at historically low levels, and I don’t anticipate that changing in the next two months. It’s a good time to issue bonds.”
Quirgoga said the district has shown strong fiscal responsibility and has a current debt of $11.5 million.
“Considering the $45 million (debt to construct) for the high school program, you can see how you’ve been diligently paying that off,” he said. “You have been able to pay off outstanding debt quicker, so you’ve paid about $250,000 in interest. That is relatively small.”
He noted that the district has kept a higher interest and sinking fund – or debt service – tax rate in order to pay its bills more quickly and reduce the amount of interest paid.
“If property values go down again, in the worst case scenario, it will get a little tougher (to keep the same tax rate),” Quiroga said.
The board approved a finance plan that allows staff and consultants to proceed with bond document preparation. The district is expected to enter the bond market on Oct. 19, and proceeds should be available to fund construction projects by Nov. 16.
“We’re going to try to get you a shorter call date to hopefully pay off bonds sooner than a 10-year schedule,” Quiroga said. He added that he projects an interest rate of 1.34%.
“That’s lower than some of our other bonds,” school board President Terry Johnson said.