At its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, the Comal ISD Board of Trustees for the second year in a row lowered the district’s tax rate by approving a 4-cent decrease, lowering it from $1.32 to $1.2757. The new rate goes into effect immediately.
This is the third time the Board of Trustees has lowered the tax rate in the past six years, the most recent being last year with a 7-cent decrease from $1.39 to $1.32. In 2014 the tax rate was lowered from $1.43 to $1.39.
“This is the lowest tax rate in Comal ISD since 1990,” said Comal ISD Board President David Drastata. “In addition, when you factor in the 20 percent homestead exemption that Comal ISD provides on top of the $25,000 homestead exemption granted by the state, residents of Comal ISD pay an effective tax rate of approximately $1.02. No other district in our area provides that type of benefit to its residents.”
The district’s tax rate is comprised of two parts: the maintenance and operations portion, which is $0.9257, which is used to fund day-to-day district operations and the debt service portion, which is $0.35, and is used to pay off bonded debt.
“Besides the fact that our maintenance and operations tax rate continues to shrink, I think it is also important to note that even though voters approved bond packages in 2015 and 2017 of $147 million and $263 million respectively, our debt service tax rate has not increased at all in the past six years since we lowered it from $0.39 to $0.35 in 2014,” said Drastata.
Comal ISD Superintendent Andrew Kim emphasized the fact that while the district is pleased to be able to pass on the lower rate to taxpayers, the continued growth of the district will present challenges in the years ahead.
“As we look at our five-year projections, we continue to see enrollment growth around 4 percent, which translates into a need for additional facilities to house students, as well as additional teachers and staff,” said Kim.
He continued, “While the lowered tax rate is a good thing overall in terms of providing taxpayer relief, the funding from the state falls short in making up the difference in lost revenue, particularly in fast-growth districts like Comal ISD. While we will continue to find ways to reduce costs and be conservative with our budget, we will need to explore ways to generate additional revenue.”