If you own a home in Lubbock County, be prepared to pay more on your property taxes this year.
Monday, Lubbock County Commissioners approved their $55 million budget. Now county taxpayers will pay an average of $37 more in property taxes each year.
County commissioners unanimously approved increases on two different tax rates.
Commissioners first approved the Lubbock County Hospital District's request for an eight percent tax increase Monday. So how will that directly affect taxpayers?
If you own a $100,000 home that's an annual increase of about $9. The increase will help offset the rising cost of caring for uninsured patients as well as capital improvements.
"During 2008 we're looking to expand emergency rooms, do some renovations of the hospital and build more parking lot spaces," says David Allison, CEO and President of UMC.
Commissioners also approved a two cent county tax rate increase.
If you own a $95,000 house, that will now mean an annual increase of $36 per year. But commissioners say the tax increase will bring in about $2.5 million. It's money that will go to hire staff for the new jail.
"The reason I voted for the tax increase is because the majority of that revenue is going to hire personnel for the new jail and that is a voter approved jail therefore by extension the tax increase for this year was voter approved also," says Ysidro Guiterrez, Lubbock County Commissioner.
The county claims it will need to hire 144 employees to maintain the new jail, which will have more than 1,500 beds to house inmates. But Guiterrez says they only have enough money to hire 40 employees this year.
"The future is what's of concern to me. We're going to continue to see demands on Lubbock County for new personnel. As a member of this court, I'm going to look for ways to keep growth to a minimum so we can keep the rate low," says Guiterrez.
The future is also a concern for taxpayers like W.L. Methany who shared with commissioners how the tax increase will directly affect him at the public hearing Monday.
"Every year they come back and get more and more. I work for a living and I don't have a place to get more money but they just think that money just grows on trees," says Methany.
Also included in the Lubbock County budget is a 5.36 percent pay raise for county commissioners and all county employees. But here's something to keep in mind, even with the two tax rate increases you will still likely pay less in taxes this year since the state has mandated a school property tax decrease for all districts.
LISD School Board Appoints New Member, Approves Tax Cut
Lubbock ISD has appointed a new school board member, who will hold the seat until Mark Griffin's term expires next May.