Weslaco ISD trustees OK tax hike

WESLACO — School board trustees on Monday approved a 2-cent property tax increase in a 6-1 vote.

The interest and sinking tax rate, or I&S, will increase to 2 cents, bringing the total property tax rate to $1.16 per $100 property valuation.

Those living in district boundaries have not seen a tax hike in eight years.

Homeowners with property valued at $88,000, the average in Weslaco, will pay an additional $12.16 per year.

“We haven’t raised our taxes in a very long time … our kids in Weslaco deserve the best, and it takes money to do everything for our children,” said Erasmo “Moe” Lopez, Weslaco ISD board president.

School district representatives touted a low tax rate compared to neighboring districts such as Mercedes ISD and Donna ISD.

The hike will generate $1 million — $400,000 from district taxpayers and an additional $600,000 from the state.

“This is a small increase, and I feel it’s small, and we wanted to do it to just two pennies, even though we could have gone up to seven (cents),” Lopez said.

Money generated through the tax hike will be used for bond debt payments.

The district sent questionnaires to parents and employees about the proposed tax hike.

Out of the 3,324 parents surveyed, 1,404 said they were not financially able to afford the tax increase, according to a presentation by the district.

“I talked to a lot of people who didn’t believe we should be raising taxes at this time,” said Trustee Patrick Kennedy in explanation of why he voted against the tax increase.

Last year, Weslaco ISD voters rejected a $109 million bond proposal.

The tax increase will be reflected on property tax statements set to be mailed out next month.

Taxes will not increase for anyone older than 65 or for disabled veterans.