• September 19, 2020

Trustees approve tax rate, bond refunding - Odessa American: News

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Trustees approve tax rate, bond refunding

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Posted: Tuesday, September 15, 2020 8:47 pm

The Ector County ISD Board of Trustees approved an ordinance setting a tax rate for 2020-2021 during their meeting Tuesday night that will mean more in taxes for most homeowners due to higher appraisals.

The total tax rate is $1.17792 per $100 valuation, which is the same as it was for 2019-2020.

As of July 23, Ector County’s total market value was $18,853,884,923 billion and the net taxable value was $14,780,081,912, according to a presentation from Chief Financial Officer Deborah Ottmers.

The gross revenue per penny of tax revenue is $1,507,040, she said.

Ottmers said property values saw a 5 percent property value decrease from April 30 estimated values and down 2 percent in property value from the prior year certified July 25, 2019, values.

In the end, Ottmers said, looking a year ago from the certified property values to now the actual decrease in property values is about 2 percent. When values go down, she said, state funding goes up.

Most property owners’ taxes will go up because of an increase in appraised values.

Enrollment has not reached the 34,000 level expected this year. It’s down about 2,000 students, Superintendent Scott Muri said.

Ottmers said the district is still looking for those students.

“We’re going to see some changes in the budget coming up if we can’t locate those students. This is an issue across the state. The kids picked up and moved away, or they’re just home schooling or … (learning) online. TEA does have a couple schools online… We don’t know where a lot of them are,” Ottmers said.

The board voted to prepay $5,235,000 of its existing bonds (Series 2013) that are due in 2038. By making this early payment, ECISD will save more than $3.2 million in future interest payments.

The board also voted to refinance certain bonds due between 2026-36. This refinancing will save taxpayers an estimated $13.6 million.

“Those items tonight save taxpayers a lot of money,” Muri said. “It’s just the smart thing to do, regardless. That’s great news for our community. In addition to that, it provides more bond capacity. Even without that, it’s just smart.”

David Duree, a member of the tax ratification election committee formed for oversight on how the funds were spent and transparency to the public, said everything on the list has almost been completed.

Duree said the TRE raised $18 million. It included a total of $9.8 million in salary increases for teachers and others.

The first increase was on the Dec. 31 paycheck. Duree said it was in the 2019-2020 budget and in the 2020-2021 budget.

The TRE also included campus security, buses and roofs.

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