New tax rate brings in same amount as last year
David Barkemeyer
Milam County Judge

One of the subjects I spent some time discussing in the community communication meetings was the Milam County tax base.

Since the attendance at those meeting was light, I’m going to cover some of the information here because I think this is important.

If you weren’t able to attend, I encourage you to take a look at the video version on the county website at

Market agricultural land value is a little over a billion dollars, but after what we call “ag exemptions” are taken off only $63 million of the value is taxable which is only 3% of the total appraised value ($2.24 billion) of property in Milam County.

But surely our land values are going up. Yes, the appraised value did go up $45 million this year but ag exemptions went up $46 million too, so the taxable value overall stayed about the same.

Homesites, both in town and in the country, make up 23% ($515 million) of the total appraised value, $50 million of it is land, either lots or rural homesites which went up $1.2 million.

The rest ($465 million) is our homes themselves which went down $12 million this past year.

We made a big deal about the Luminant valuation decreasing by $80 million but at the same time ag land and homesites in Milam County overall decreased in value by some $10 or $12 million on our tax rolls.

Non-homesites ($437 million) represent the commercial/industrial real estate in the county and is 20% of appraised property.

Personal property, is $1.135 billion or 50% of the total and is the non-real estate portion of the commercial/industrial property such as industrial equipment, business inventory and fixtures.

Luminant power plants were reclassified to personal property from non-homesite.

These two categories combined dropped $145 million in value but when combined with an adjustment in the environmental exemption, the $80 million net impact of the Luminant value reduction can be derived.

Combining the non-homesite and personal property categories represent all non ag land, homes, and minerals, but primarily are made up of the industrial/commercial properties in the tax base and make up 70% of the total.

Minerals represent only 4% ($89 million) of the total appraised value, which is surprisingly low.

Perhaps in the future oil and gas will play a larger role, (it did rise $5 million in 2013), but minerals impact has been relatively small in Milam County so far.

Appraised value, however, is not taxable value. There are $550 million in tax exemptions in, the biggest environmental exemptions primarily at the Luminant power plant. When these are subtracted, the net taxable value is $1.69 billion.

There is also a freeze on tax on the homestead property of those over 65 and certain veterans. There are $150 million in properties on which the property taxes are frozen, and the amount of taxes on those properties is frozen at $802,535, which is some $145,500 less than if these properties were fully taxable. So the remaining “ freeze adjusted” tax base that is fully taxable is $1.54 billion (compared to $1.62 billion last year).

Applying the 63 cents to this $1.54 billion and adding in the $802,535 tax on the frozen properties will generate $10.5 million in ad valorem taxes for use by the county in paying the bills in 2014, ($1.54 billion x $.63 + $802.535 = $10.5 million).

This is about the same amount of tax generated by the 60 cent tax rate in 2012/13.

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2013-09-05 digital edition

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