The Austin Community College District (ACC) Board of Trustees adopted a $0.1048 (10.48 cents) property tax rate for fiscal year 2018-19 on Monday, September 10. The $0.004 increase over last year is due to the issuance of the final voter-approved tax bonds.
ACC’s 2018-19 tax rate will raise taxes for maintenance and operations on a $100,000 home by approximately $7.50 a year. Despite the increase, ACC’s tax rate is among the lowest of community colleges statewide. The maintenance and operations portion of the tax rate remains unchanged at $.09, a rate that hasn’t increased since 2006.
“The college strives to be a good steward of taxpayer dollars,” says Neil Vickers, ACC executive vice president of finance and administration. “Tax dollars make up nearly 59 percent of the college’s operating budget.”
To offset the impact of increased property appraisals, trustees also approved an increase to the college’s tax exemption for seniors and homeowners with disabilities by $10,000, from $150,000 to $160,000, among the largest exemption among taxing entities in Central Texas. The college also grants a standard $5,000 homestead exemption for all homeowners, for a total exemption of $165,000 for seniors and those with disabilities.
ACC benefits from a large tax base that includes portions of six counties. The region’s increasing property values and new growth allow the college to balance deep cuts in state funding, which has dropped from approximately 40 percent to about 16 percent of ACC’s annual budget in recent years. Tuition and fees make up 21 percent of the total budget. The board previously voted to maintain in-district tuition rates and lower rates for out-of-district students. At $67 per credit, ACC tuition is the most affordable among area colleges and universities.
“ACC remains committed to serving all of our community’s needs and is grateful for their ongoing support,” says Dr. Barbara Mink, ACC board chair. “We will continue to grow together.”
Since 2014, when voters approved two general obligation (GO) bonds, the college has broken ground on all of its proposed projects. Over the past year, four projects were completed. These include the construction of the new San Gabriel Campus in Leander and expansions at Elgin, Hays, and Round Rock campuses. ACC Highland Phase 2, also funded by the GO bonds, is set to open in 2020 as a regional hub for higher education collaboration and workforce training. The advanced facilities are designed to boost the college’s capacity to train students in high-demand careers, build strong industry partnerships, and nurture local business growth. ACC’s historic Rio Grande Campus renovation also is set for completion in 2020.
The final cost of bond projects to ACC District taxpayers totals approximately 1 cent per $100 home valuation ($25 annually for a $250,000 home), half the projected 2 cent increase
For more information about ACC’s bond projects, visit austincc.edu/vision.