Even though Richmond city commissioners plan to keep the 2020 tax rate the same as this year, one resident asked them on Tuesday to consider cutting taxes.

Commissioners agreed last month to keep the property tax rate at 69 cents per $100 value. The tax rate has been reduced from 79 cents per $100 value in 2009 to 69 cents per $100 value in 2018.

“You guys are doing a real good job these past few years lowing our property tax rate,” Carlos Garcia told commissioners during the first of two public hearings on the budget.

“You have been lowering (the tax rate) by a penny a year so it has made a difference. However, this year I haven’t heard anybody say anything about cutting taxes.”

However, he said, he has been talking to neighbors and people around town and they agree that the tax rate is too high, especially when compared to other communities.

Garcia said the city of Sugar Land’s tax rate is 31 cents per $100 value and Rosenberg’s is 43 cents. In addition, both Sugar Land and Rosenberg offer tax exemptions to those residents 65 and over.

Rosenberg offers a $60,000 tax exemption to property owners 65 and older, and Sugar Land offers the elderly a $70,000 exemption, he noted.

Rosenberg also offer a $5,000 homestead exemption, he added. The city of Richmond offers a $5,000 tax exemption for property owners 65 and older and no homestead exemption, he said.

“Now I know you’re going to say you’re not comparing apples to apples, but if you don’t start the conversation we’ll never get there,” Garcia said.

Of proposed 69 cents per $100 value, just over 17 cents per $100 value has been allocated to pay off long-term debt. A little over 52 cents per $100 value will be allocated to maintenance and operations.

That means the owner of a $100,000 home could expect to pay about $699 in property taxes to the city before exemptions.

It should be noted that the property tax base — property that can be taxed by the city — has risen each year over the past 10 years.

In 2009, the overall tax base was $363,670,037 and is estimated at $562,107,243 going into 2020. The average value of a home in Richmond has grown from $92,012 in 2009 to $132,419 going into 2020. Sixty-four percent of the tax base is commercial property.

Taxes will account for $8.6 million of the $28 million the city expects to raise in 2020.

Water and sewer sales will account for $7.8 million, fines and fees $430,000 and licenses and permits $746,000. Other sources of revenue will generate an estimated $3.3 million in revenue.

Sales tax will make up an estimated $4.7 million or so of the $8.6 million in tax revenue in 2020, while property taxes will account for about $3 million, fire protection fees around $2.7 million and franchise taxes about $690,000.

The second public hearings on the proposed rate has been set for Sept. 9.

The commission will also hold a public hearing on the proposed budget on Sept. 9 as well.

The commission is scheduled to vote on the proposed budget and tax rate on Sept. 16.

The city is required to submit its tax rate to the county tax collector-assessor’s office by the end of September and adopt a budget by the beginning of the fiscal year, which is Oct. 1.

The tax rate goes into effect Jan. 1

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