LAMPASAS — Lampasas County voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a property tax freeze for seniors 65 years old or older.
The election drew 1,377 votes, or 83 percent, in support of the freeze, with 303 votes against.
The Lampasas County Commissioners Court voted this summer to bring the issue before voters for a final decision. Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cox said he and his fellow commissioners thought letting voters decide was the best way to determine the fate of the issue.
The emotionally charged debate became more troublesome as county leaders were not altogether opposed to giving seniors on fixed or shrinking incomes a break, but Cox warned any gaps in lost revenue will fall on wage-earning families struggling to survive in today’s economy.
Earlier this summer, County Auditor Chris Munn told officials the county could lose as much as $1.2 million in the next seven years if the item is passed.
The tax freeze will now benefit 14.7 percent of the county’s residents in the 65-or-older tax bracket, leaving the remaining 85.3 percent of the county’s wage-earning population to feel the effects by the end of 2014.
County Judge Wayne Boultinghouse asked county officials to move cautiously in making a decision, as the tax freeze has irreversible effects.
“It certainly benefits the people over 65 as far as freezing their taxes, but there are some downsides. With this voted in, apparently there is no future date to vote it out. Once it’s in, it’s in,” Boultinghouse said. “In order to maintain our current level of service, the taxes on the under-65 population will have to go up, and I’m in favor of everybody paying their share.”