The Kleberg County Commissioners Court proposed lowering the county’s overall property tax rate in the next fiscal year, following a vote at this week’s commissioners court meeting.

County taxpayers will see a decrease in the county tax rate from $0.78145 per $100 valuation to $0.76950 per $100 valuation after a 4-1 vote, with Pct. 1 County Commissioner David Rosse voting against the new tax rate. 

This proposed rate is two cents higher than the effective tax rate of $0.74950, which is the rate needed to generate the same amount of revenue as the year before.

Tax rates set are used to determine how much property tax revenue a county, city or school district will receive to help fund general operations and debt. 

The proposed rate should generate about $11,424,641 for the county in the next fiscal year, Kleberg County Tax Assessor-Collector Melissa T. De La Garza said on Monday. 

The tax rate is comprised of a Maintenance and Operations rate of $0.74079 (for day-to-day operations) and $0.02871 of Interest and Sinking (debt payments).

Because property values in the county have increased, the new rate will generate  $524,641 more in revenue compared to the previous fiscal year.

Under a new law passed in Texas, in order to proceed with a rate higher than the effective rate, De La Garza said the county must be clear on what the additional revenue will be used for.

The county commissioners court agreed they would be using the additional revenue to help “employee wages, employee benefits and county facility infrastructure upgrades.”

Public hearings for the proposed tax rate are scheduled to be held on Aug. 26 at 1:30 p.m., and Sept. 3 at 5:30 p.m.

The county commissioners also voted on setting the salaries for elected officials in the county, which included pay increases for all Justices of the Peace, and all four county constables.

The Justices of the Peace will see salary increases from $34,080 to $40,000, an increase of $5,920, and the constables will see a salary increase from $33,752.90 to $40,000, an increase of $6,247.10.

The motion carried on a 4-1 vote, with Rosse voting against. 

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