Taxpayers speak out against property taxes increasing
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Although the tax rate proposed by the Copperas Cove city council during its July 31 meeting is unchanged from previous years, several residents spoke out against increasing property tax bills during a special meeting on Tuesday.
The council proposed a tax rate of 79.7908 cents per $100 valuation, which will generate an additional $17,121 if the rate is adopted by the council.
Place 6 councilman Marc Payne reiterated that he had proposed a tax rate of 78 cents per $100 during the July 31 meeting, with a lower rate to encourage people to come to the city and to encourage businesses.
“We have six people here. I commend the six who showed up. I would encourage more to come to the next hearing who have something to say. Otherwise please don’t complain about the taxes going up.”
Several of those six residents did speak up during the public hearing, among them Cheryl Lewis, who said her property’s appraised value jumped by $7,000 this year, which translates to about $200 more annually in taxes.
She told the council she didn’t understand how her tax bill increased.
“Although I’m a retired army veteran of 26 years and I receive partial disability, I’m in the same financial situation as most senior citizens of the city, in that my family lives on my fixed disability income.
“It is getting to the point that it will be too expensive to live here, much less thrive here.”
Lewis added that she has a high schooler here and she likes Copperas Cove, and would like to stay.
One of the explanations offered for increased tax bills was that although the city’s property tax rate remained the same, if an appraised value increases then the property tax goes up.
Also, Copperas Cove isn’t the only taxing entity on property owners’ tax bills, said councilman Jay Manning. Among the other taxing entities are the Copperas Cove Independent School District, Coryell County, and Central Texas College.
Place 7 councilman Charlie Youngs commiserated with Lewis.
“I hear you. I’ve gone through it for years,” said Charlie Youngs. “This body has not raised the rate. Our tax rate has been .797908 for four years. It’s not us that is doing it. It’s the appraisal district in Coryell County.”
Interim city manager Ryan Haverlah weighed in on the proceedings,
“Council is exactly correct in that the proposed tax rate has not changed. But the required calculation that the state levying some type of a property tax must follow a specific formula. If the proposed rate is higher than the effective tax rate, we are required to hold these public hearings.”
Haverlah said that valuations have increased 1.9 percent compared to last year, and if a property owner sees an increase in valuation more than 1.9 percent, that means other properties in the city have seen a devaluation in appraised value. Although new properties have been added each year to the tax rolls, other properties with decreased values offset the benefits of those new taxable properties.
The next required public hearing for the proposed tax rate is set for Tuesday, August 21 at 5 p.m., in the city’s technology center, located at 508 S. 2nd St.