School board approves tax cut; Reduction comes as property values increase

HARLINGEN — In the time of COVID-19, every penny counts — and the Harlingen School Board of Trustees knows it.

At its monthly meeting this week, the board approved a 4.4 cent property tax cut, bringing the rate from $1.21 per $100 of property value to $1.17.

“We were able to reduce the tax rate because our taxable values had an increase of seven and a half percent over last year,” said Julio Cavazos, chief financial officer for the Harlingen district.

But it’s more than that.

Not only did property values increase, but the state’s school finance bill, House Bill 3, last year mandated that school districts across Texas reduce tax rates.

More specifically, school districts were told they had to cap increases at 2 ½ percent. The state would subsidize the difference.

“It’s all about tax relief,” Cavazos said. “That’s what the state said last year. They wanted local tax relief, and so they implemented this. The state will subsidize whatever lost revenues we would have had.”

The mandate to bring tax relief came long before the pandemic arrived.

However, with so many out of work because of COVID-19, this will certainly be welcome news to many.

Property owners within Harlingen CISD boundaries will see the reduced tax rate on their upcoming tax bill.

Last year, the Harlingen CISD school board cut taxes by more than 10 cents per $100 of property value. More specifically, the school district’s property tax rate was reduced from $1.31 to $1.21.