For the 10th year in a row, the city of Alton has decreased their property tax rate, bringing the tax rate down by 10 percent since 2007.
City commissioners unanimously approved an overall $5 million budget Tuesday that included the reduced property tax rate. Currently at $0.4490 per $100 of assessed property valuation, the new tax rate for 2017 will be half a cent less, or $0.4440.
City Manager Jorge Arcuate said the city is able to lower the property tax rate while maintaining a balanced budget because the city has experienced steady growth, and sales tax revenues have nearly doubled over the past decade.
“So relief on the property tax side is what the mayor has requested and that’s what we’ve done,” Arcuate said of Mayor Salvador Vela in a previous budget hearing. “He has stressed that since my first day on the job.”
With that reduction, Alton now has the second lowest property tax rate in the county behind the $0.4419 property tax rate of the city of Granjeno, according to 2016 figures from the Hidalgo County Appraisal District. According to City Planner Jeff Underwood, even with lowering the tax rate the city is still able to purchase new equipment such as vehicles for the city.
“Our tax rate is now smaller than that of Mission and McAllen but all the purchases we have planned are still being worked into the budget,” Underwood said. “Commission has given direction to the staff to work hard to keep expenditures low and doing what we can to raise revenues so we can lower the tax rate for the community. We’ve been able to do it for 10 years in a row. I think that will continue to be the focus. We’re going to lower when we can where we can and stay efficient with our operations, which is what we’ve done in the past. That’s not going to change.”
Underwood said residents will see the new tax rate next month.