VATRE would increase tax revenue, not tax rate

Needville school district leaders say the wording on the Nov.2 ballot is confusing. 

Needville ISD’s Voter-Approval Tax Rate Election (VATRE) is on the ballot for the Nov. 2 General Election, and hopes are high that it will easily pass despite unclear language on the ballot.

Superintendent Curtis Rhodes said NISD staff members are spreading the word about the numerous benefits of the VATRE for the district’s students and staff, and also explaining to taxpayers the confusing, state-mandated wording on the ballot.

Wording is confusing

“If you don’t understand the wording and that the VATRE will lower the property tax rate, you may mistakenly think taxes will be raised,” Rhodes said. “The ‘increase’ the ballot refers to is revenue, not tax rate.”

The ballot identifies the VATRE as Proposition A, stating NISD’s ad valorem tax rate “will result in an increase of 3.54 percent in maintenance and operations tax revenue for the district for the current year as compared to the preceding year, which is an additional $391,653.”

“The key word is ‘revenue’,” Rhodes said. “It’s the revenue that will increase, not the tax rate.”

That revenue, he explained, refers to the Fort Bend County Central Appraisal District’s (CAD) appraised value of NISD’s tax base, which is something over which school districts have no control.

VATRE means lower tax rate

Approval of the VATRE by Needville taxpayers means the nearly 12-cent decrease in NISD’s 2021 property tax rate approved by trustees at their August board meeting will stand at $1.31 per $100 valuation, compared to $1.43 for 2020.

Voter approval of the VATRE will also provide an estimated annual increase of more than $600,000 to NISD via state funds.

Chief Financial Officer Ben Pape said trustees approved 12-cent property tax decrease pending voter approval of the VATRE.

If the VATRE is not approved, the property tax rate will drop by a little more than 3 cents, but NISD will not receive the estimated $600,000.

Proposition A is a win-win, school district leaders say

Rhodes described the VATRE as a “win-win” for the entire Needville community and a great opportunity for NISD to receive additional funds from the state to the benefit of not only the district, but its students and staff as well.

Funds from the VATRE can be used as needed, for everything from student programs, technology, and buses to staff salaries, improvements, and additions to existing facilities.

“The additional funding from the state is an advantage for all taxpayers of Needville ISD,” Rhodes said. “Voting in favor of, or for, the VATRE is an investment in the students, staff and school community of Needville ISD; so, we encourage everyone to not be confused by the ballot wording and to vote ‘yes’ for the VATRE in support of our great school district as we continue to prepare our students for a wonderful future.”

Early voting continues from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. though through Friday, Oct.29, in the meeting room at the County Annex Road and Bridge Office, 3743 School St. in Needville.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 2.

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