This year’s certified property tax rolls appear to be a win both for taxing entities and taxpaying homeowners.

The average home value is up only 2.3 percent, according to data from the McLennan County Appraisal District. With a major new homestead exemption on school taxes, it appears the typical homeowner will see their overall tax burden decrease.

Countywide, tax base is up 6 percent, mostly because of commercial and multifamily property, which gives local governments the opportunity to rake in millions of additional dollars without raising tax rates. Taxable values are at $13.19 billion for the county and $7.76 billion for the city of Waco. Waco’s tax base is up 6.6 percent.

“It’s great news,” Waco City Manager Dale Fisseler said. “The extra revenue fits into our plans to improve our streets and infrastructure.”

Fisseler’s budget would raise an additional $1.59 million without raising the current property tax rate of 77.6 cents per $100 valuation.

McLennan County also is considering keeping its tax rate of 53.5 cents steady, while bringing in an additional $2.62 million.

McLennan Community College’s tax rate is proposed to increase slightly from 14.95 cents per $100 to 14.97.

Even with the addition of $767 million this year in tax base, MCC President Johnette McKown said the college district needed to bump up the tax rate because the state is contributing less.

Waco Independent School District’s board hasn’t yet received a preliminary budget, but staff say they are looking at a small tax rate increase over the current $1.35 per $100 rate.

Sheryl Davis, WISD assistant superintendent for business and support services, said the district needs more revenue for additional staff required for a newly implemented eight-period day, as well as stronger reading and fine-arts programs.

Still, Davis said she expects the average homeowner will see a tax decrease because of a new state law increasing the minimum homestead exemption on school taxes from $15,000 to $25,000. The law, which must be ratified by voters in a Nov. 3 election, would offset local school tax losses with state aid.

Based on calculations from the appraisal district, all school districts in the county would use lower taxable values for homes compared to last year, so tax decreases are likely all around.

For WISD, the new exemption would save the average homeowner $109.48 in taxes, assuming a steady school tax rate.

Meanwhile, the average residential tax increase, mostly because of rising appraisals, would be $13.03 for McLennan County, $19.95 for the city of Waco and $3.90 for MCC.

But the bulk of the increase in tax base is due to commercial, industrial multifamily property, not single-family homes, MCAD officials said.

A boom in apartment construction caused multifamily values to increase 22.8 percent, from $487.9 million to $599 million.

“The general uptick was pretty considerable in apartments, but one or two projects stood out,” MCAD commercial supervisor Don Whitney said.

Big projects

Some big projects around Baylor and downtown were completed in time for this year’s appraisals, including The View, valued at $39 million; Tinsley Place, valued at $8.1 million; and Franklin Place, valued at $7.2 million.

Commercial growth was also strong again this year, adding $266.5 million to the county rolls — a 9.5 percent increase in value over last year.

Completed projects included the Brazos Electric Co-op building, $36 million; Gander Mountain, $9 million; Holiday Inn Express at Legends Crossing, $9.3 million; and several new major buildings at Central Texas Marketplace.

Whitney said he expects more major additions of commercial and multifamily value to the rolls next year, with major new projects underway along Interstate 35 around Baylor University.

Tax base

Entity2014 taxable value2015 taxable valueDifference% change
McLennan County$12,445,687,594$13,193,967,705$748,280,1116.01%
Lacy Lakeview$301,443,301$309,741,602$8,298,3012.75%
China Spring ISD$553,260,165$562,948,022$9,687,8571.75%
Midway ISD$3,849,021,289$3,967,731,109$118,709,8203.08%
Waco ISD$4,116,970,639$4,347,725,375$230,754,7365.60%

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