Lubbock County Commissioner’s Court Adopts Effective Property Tax Rate
Editor's Note 4:45pm, September 23, 2019: A quote from Commissioner Chad Seay was incorrectly transcribed and was corrected in this edition of the story.
On September 23rd, the Lubbock County Commissioners Court voted unanimously to adopt the effective property tax rate for the 2019-2020 fiscal budget for Lubbock County.
Commissioners Jason Corley and Chad Seay were notably absent from the Court’s meeting on September 9th. They said it was an effort to stymie the potential adoption of a flat property tax rate (34.8086 cents) in the 2019-2020 fiscal budget for Lubbock County, which is the same property tax rate held in Lubbock County’s 2018-2019 fiscal budget but higher than the new effective property tax rate of 33.9978 cents.
Lubbock County Commissioner Curtis Parrish says the controversy surrounding the property tax rate is only a misunderstanding. In an article published September 22nd in the Austin American-Statesman, Parrish said that in the Court’s budget work session on August 29th, all five commissioners were in support of adopting the effective tax rate as long as it met the needs of the proposed budget, but that due to time constraints amendments to the budget could not be made until September 5th, four days before the Court would hold a vote at their September 9th meeting.
However, on September 9th, both Commissioners Corley and Seay were absent from the meeting and instead released a video on Facebook that expressed their concern that fellow Commissioners Gilbert Flores and Bill McCay, and County Judge Curtis Parrish, might vote to keep the flat property tax rate and they cited a local government statue that says a county tax cannot be levied unless four members of the court are present to vote. Some would say that their fears were warranted, as McCay, Flores and Parrish had been proponents of keeping the flat rate up until the very end of their August 29th meeting.
Of the Commissioners, Flores might be considered the strongest supporter of the flat rate, having championed it since discussions on the 2019-2020 budget first began. During the Court’s meeting on August 12th, Flores said, “Our duty is to set a tax rate. And we lowered the tax rate last year (2018) and we can’t afford to do it this year. It’s that simple. . . You have to do what’s good for Lubbock County and this is what is good for Lubbock County.” Flores’ position on the property tax rate remained relatively unchanged and he gave no indication during the Court’s meeting on August 29th that he planned to vote in favor of the effective tax rate. Commissioners McCay and Parrish had also voiced similar sentiments when discussing the budget.
But on September 23rd, all five members of the Commissioners Court voted to adopt the effective property tax rate of 33.9978 cents, which will be 0.81 cents less than the property tax rate of 2018 and 1.0054 cents less than the rate of 2017. In Monday's meeting, Commissioner Chad Seay apologized to the County Department Heads who had business with the Commissioner's Court on September 9th. Commissioner Seay also told KFYO News, that he's 'thankful' for the Commissioner's Court for adopting the effective rate.