County Commissioner Kenny Maines says enacting a property tax freeze for the elderly and disabled in Lubbock County would simply shift liability from one tax segment to another. Regardless, citizens voted overwhelmingly last November to give local governments the ability to freeze taxes, but commissioners want to wait at least until their next meeting to take action. Maines says, "We still have questions to answer regarding the county's bond rating as far as the tax freeze and what effect it would have on our bond rating, and also existing jail bonds could be effected as far as a rate for those."
If enacted, the tax freeze would cost the county an estimated $643,000 in revenue in 2005. That's an average savings of $40 per year, per household. Maines says, "This is feel good legislation. This is something, I don't know many people out there who if you say 'Hey, I can save you $3 a month' that they would be excited about that."
Inside Lubbock city limits, the property tax freeze is already a go. Come October, thousands of property owners will see the effects. Lubbock City Councilman, Tom Martin, says "Those of us under 65 may have to pay a slight bit more but it's fair and makes sense to help elderly keep their homes and not have to sell because they can't afford the taxes."
There are only 29 entities across the State of Texas that have enacted similar tax freezes. According to county commissioners many others are in "wait and see" mode. For now, that's the mode Lubbock County is in, but commissioners say a tax freeze is likely to pass eventually.