Peñitas approves five-cent tax increase

This post has been corrected to reflect the city would bring in approximately $100,000 less annually with the same tax rate.

PEÑITAS — Residents should brace for higher taxes next year.

The city commissioners approved a tax increase of five cents to 55 cents per $100 valuation for the next fiscal year. For the owner of a home worth $100,000, that means an increase of about $50 in property taxes. That increase, though, would be before factoring in any exemptions, said City Manager Omar Romero.

Romero said the tax increase is based off what the Hidalgo County Appraisal District determined was necessary for the city to maintain the same revenue levels.

The city commissioners simply voted to accept the appraisal district’s recommendation, Romero said.

Had the city maintained the same tax rate, he said the city would have brought in approximately $100,000 less per year.

“There’s any number of things that can affect the rate within a city’s valuations so in order for us to maintain the same level of income, to maintain the same level of services, we have to raise the value,” Romero said and attributed the need to raise taxes to the protesting the value of their property.

“I think it’s basically just with what happened a couple years ago with the county and people becoming a little bit more educated on protesting the value the appraisal district assigns,” he said. “I don’t really attribute it to anything more than people probably becoming a lot more educated as far as their rights when it comes to property values.”

Romero said the city plans to hold two more meetings to discuss the budget and the tax increase but because the taxes will not be raising the city’s revenue, it is not legally required to hold a public hearing.