Humble City Council to increase property tax
Humble City Council held the first of two Public Hearings to consider raising the city’s property tax rate from $0.20 to $0.21 per $100 valuation at the regular meeting Sept. 8, a five percent increase to property owners in Humble. It is the first tax increase to be considered since 2005. The required second Public Hearing was scheduled to take place as part of a special City Council meeting Sept. 12 at Humble City Hall. Following the second hearing, the City Council is expected to approve the tax increase at its next regular City Council Meeting, currently planned to be Sept. 22.
One of a small number of Humble residents at the hearing had questions about the reason for the increase.
"We have had things that have increased quite considerably," said Mayor Merle Aaron. "For example, our water that we buy from the City of Houston; I think last month our cost was $111,000.
Aaron said the purchase of water from the City of Houston is the result of mandates required to reduce groundwater from wells by 30 percent because of the threat of subsidence and cannot be avoided or reduced.
Humble Financial Director and Assistant Secretary Aimee Phillips explained the tax impact on typical homeowners in Humble.
“If you have a $100,000 home, it will affect you by about $12,” said Phillips.
She explained the $12 represents the additional amount over taxes property owner would have paid under the current rate and said the tax is intended to help cover the operating budget.
“It will help us cover any of the operations that we have here in the city. At the end of the day you are looking at the total amount of taxes we bring in from this to be about $3.5 million ... $3.5 million in today’s operating world would maybe carry us a month and a half,” Phillips said. She noted that this coming year the budget is expected to be over $45 million.
Phillips said the increase keeps the Humble rate among the lowest of tax rates throughout Harris County. Based on a comparison of local communities she provided, the City of Houston tax rate is 0.60112, nearly three times the proposed 0.21 rate in Humble.
Aaron and Phillips both pointed out the sales tax is the number one generator of funds for the City of Humble along with substantial revenue from the half-cent rebate from Metro to help cover road infrastructure improvements.
Phillips noted another important reason for proposing the property tax increase.
“This is the first time that we have had a 10-months-in-a-row a decrease in our sales tax revenue over the previous year, from where we thought we were going to be,” she said.
The Public Hearing closed after the required 30 minutes required by law. The council then resumed its regular meeting and approved an ordinance to alter certain speed limits within the city based on engineering and traffic investigations. City Manager Darrell Boeske explained the reason for the ordinance.
“This is an ordinance that TxDOT needs to make some changes to the small ring road underneath the FM 1960 Bypass out by the railroad tracks. They can’t do it without us actually having this ordinance,” he said.