In a little over two months, the Grayson Central Appraisal District will be sending out new property appraisal evaluations. Like property owners throughout the state, many in Grayson County fear the taxes they owe based on these new appraisals will go up from last year.
An analysis of the taxes paid through the Grayson County Tax Assessor Collector's office from 2008 to 2018 shows that the amount of taxes paid in the county has gone up by $77,402,074, or 57 percent, over the decade. U.S. Census data shows that Grayson County's population increased by about 8.5 percent from 2010 to 2017.
The 38 taxing entities in the county that use the Grayson Central Appraisal District include 15 school districts, 14 cities, one water district, one junior college district and the county government. While some of those taxing entities have tried to hold the line on tax rates, that is not enough to stem the tide in the rise of the amount of actual taxes people pay on property because the appraised values continue to rise throughout Grayson County.
Information from GCAD's Chief Appraiser Shawn Coker shows the taxable value for each of the 32 entities handled by the GCAD has increased by at least 20.42 percent and some by as much as 417 percent between 2008 and 2018.
The city of Southmayd had the lowest increase at 20.42 percent and the city of Knollwood was the highest at 417 percent.
The amount of taxes that people actually paid on those properties involves a lot of moving parts and can sometimes be a bit confusing. The GCAD website explains each taxing entity, i.e. the school district, city or county, sets the tax rate and the GCAD sets the taxable value of each piece of property in the taxing entities' domain. The tax rate is then applied to taxable value to get the amount of taxes due on the piece of property.
“Each appraisal district is required to value at 100 percent market value according the Texas Property Tax Code,” Coker said. “We are required to see a property every three years, however, we are also required to be at market value. So if we have sales indicating a change is needed, up or down, we must reflect the market.”
He said the central appraisal districts were put in place in the early 1980s to make sure that all entities had one value for each piece of property.
“CADS are a subdivision of the state of Texas,” Coker said. “The CAD also did away with each entity having their own appraiser. This alleviated any bias or pressure since these appraisers worked for the entities.”
The chief appraiser said although property taxes are a big cost to taxpayers, Texas is 46th on the Tax Foundation's list of state and local tax burden — of course, Texas does not have a state income tax.
“I am fearful if the legislature passes a sales tax or income tax to curb property taxes, there will be a potential for us sliding down on that list,” Coker said. “This is also the case with capping the tax rate at 2.5 percent increase.”
Coker said Texans already choose their boards, trustees and commissioners as voters and the ballot box is the place to show any dissatisfaction they may feel with the tax system in the state.
Grayson County has lowered its tax rate for the past several years after keeping it steady for nearly a decade. However, the appraised value of property has meant the county has had more taxable value each year. In 2008, the county's taxable rate was 49.09 cents per $100 valuation and its taxable value was $5,951,858,341. In 2018, the tax rate was lowered to 44.18 cents per $100 valuation and its taxable value increased to $9,427,251,243. That is a difference of $3,475,392,902 or a 58.39 percent increase in the taxable value.
The city of Southmayd, which had the lowest increase in property value over the time period has also had a property tax rate as high as 63.77 cents per $100 valuation in 2018 and as low as 46.02 cents per $100 valuation in 2008. The city of Knollwood's tax rate was 27.53 cents per $100 valuation in 2018 and 15 cents per $100 valuation in 2008.