Property Tax Rates May Fall Again

Good news for property owners in Tyler. This week, the city council will discuss lowering the city's property tax rate by another 3%.

The rate decrease would make it nine years in a row that the property taxes have gone down. But while one tax may be falling, another continues to inch up.

Gene Shull, who owns four properties in Tyler, says the city has consistently made it easier for him to manages his tax expenses, especially with him having to also pay money to Smith County, Tyler Junior College and TISD.

"With the increase in the valuation of my property, I'm still paying less to the city property taxes today than I was in 1993," said Shull.

For the upcoming fiscal year, "We're actually talking about a decrease in the property tax rate of almost 3 percent," said Tyler Mayor Joey Seeber. "And in the last nine years, that means a decrease of about 52 percent of the tax rate for the citizens of Tyler."

Right now, the average homeowner with a $100,000 home and no tax exemptions, pays about $261.97 a year. If next year's tax rate is approved, the same property owner will pay almost $8 dollars less.

But while the city is discussing another possible tax decrease, Smith County Commissioners met Monday to discuss another possible tax increase in the county. County Judge Larry Craig proposed a 2 cent tax rate increase for Smith County. He says upping taxes is the only way to afford new state mandates, which require the county to pay for more workers compensation and inmate medical coverage.

If both plans are improved in September, Mayor Joey Seeber says it would be the first time the city's taxes are actually lower than county's.

  Mayor Seeber says the city is always looking for ways to consolidate the budget. The City of Tyler and Smith County have until September to determine their budgets for next fiscal year. Any changes in the property tax rate will take affect in October.