LAMPASAS — Voters overwhelmingly chose to cap future tax increases on seniors’ homesteads in the May 10 municipal election.
The proposition — which was approved by a vote of 302 to 30 — will initiate a senior citizen property tax freeze within the city limits, meaning as long as no major improvements are done on the homes of residents who are 65 or older, their property taxes will remain stagnant for the duration of their lives.
But while some may view it as a tax cut for the elderly, City Manager Finley deGraffenried said it was just another step in making the area more attractive to future residents.
“There will be an impact on tax revenue; however, when we looked at it with the appraisal district, it was only around $8,000 to $10,000 (annually),” he said.
The city’s property tax rate is currently 39 cents per $100 of assessed property valuation.
The county passed a similar ordinance last year, which also froze 65-and-older county property taxes, deGraffenried said. The Lampasas City Council began talking about initiating a city tax freeze in January, but decided to leave it up to voters to decide.
“It’ll help the senior citizens and it’s a good thing for them,” Mayor Jerry Grayson said. “ ... And maybe not this year or the next tax cycle, but it’s going to put more responsibility or burdens on the younger taxpayers.”
According to the Lampasas Appraisal District, the city received more than $1.39 million in property taxes in 2013 and has 565 elderly residents who are now exempt from rising taxes. As of 2013, there were 2,368 single-family homes in town.
“It may have a greater effect on years to come than the first two years,” Grayson said, referring to possible fiscal consequences of the law.
However, deGraffenried said, the tax cut could draw more elderly residents to the area, who could contribute to the city’s sales tax revenue.
“That, coupled with the fact we are a state-certified retirement community with great amenities, a beautiful golf course and good health care, we’ve got a lot of things going besides the property taxes,” he said.