By Glen Rose City Administrator Michael Leamons
Christmas came early this year for owners of homesteads in Glen Rose when on June 8 the Glen Rose City Council voted to adopt a 20% homestead exemption for homeowners of all ages and to increase the additional homestead exemption for those over 65 from $25,000 to $50,000.
The owner of a $200,000 homestead who is younger than 65 should see a reduction in what the city portion of their tax bill would otherwise have been of approximately $150, while an owner over 65 should see a reduction of about $220.
Council member Johnny Martin had first suggested such a course of action during a recent budget workshop. He felt City of Glen Rose taxpayers should be offered the same exemptions that are offered to Somervell County taxpayers.
When Martin asked staff if it would be possible to have the exemptions in place for 2020, it was discovered that the exemptions had to be adopted prior to July 1st. So, Mayor Pam Miller authorized the matter to be placed on the June 8 Council agenda where Council members Chris Bryant, Julia Douglas, Jack Johnson, Johnny Martin and Richard Vaughn, unanimously, voted in favor of granting the exemptions.
It is expected the exemptions will result in a loss of $77,000 of property tax revenue for the City in Fiscal Year 2020-2021. If the City sells Oakdale Park (as authorized by voters last November), the loss of those revenues will be more than offset by the elimination of approximately $207,000 in annual debt service associated with the bonds that were issued to purchase and renovate that property.
Sealed bids for Oakdale Park will be opened at 2 p.m. on July 30, but the Council has reserved the right to reject any or all bids if the offers submitted are not deemed to be in the City’s best interest.
If Oakdale doesn’t sell, the City may have to dip into its reserves during the first year that the exemptions are offered to cover the lost revenue. It is believed growth spurred by the exemptions will eventually produce more than enough additional property tax revenue to offset the lost revenue.
During the June 8 Council meeting, Council member Julia Douglas voiced her expectation that the City’s low property tax rate and generous homestead exemptions will encourage property owners adjacent to the City to annex into it to benefit from the services the City offers and encourage others to build new homes within the current City limits.
Last year’s ad valorem tax rate for Glen Rose was $0.384074/$100 valuation. That is the same rate that has been in place since 2013. Prior to that, the rate was higher. Ten years ago, the rate was $0.4071 and 12 years ago it was $0.4309, or 12% higher than it is now.
Glen Rose’s $0.384074 tax rate and exemptions stack up very favorably against those of neighboring cities: Cleburne, $0.773206 (10% general, $6,000 over 65 exemptions); Hico, $0.7304 (no exemptions); Meridian, 0.497800 (no exemptions); Tolar $0.477759 ($10,000 over 65); Walnut Springs $0.474100 (no exemptions); Stephenville, $0.470 ($15,000 over 65); and, Granbury, $0.399385 ($20,000 over 65).