Conroe, April 25 – “The Sage” returned from his recovery after back surgery and related ailments to address the Montgomery County Commissioners Court on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, about one of the most pressing issues pending before the citizens of Montgomery County. Bill “The Sage” O’Sullivan spoke to the Commissioners Court about the failure of the Conroe Independent School District (CISD) and other taxing entities in Montgomery County to provide a “true picture” of the amount of debt they’re putting on the citizens with bond indebtedness, because they’ve failed to disclose the massive amount of interest.
O’Sullivan also noted that tax increases are far more than mere rate increases. CISD has promised a 3 cent tax rate increase, if the May 4 $807 million bond passes, but CISD has failed to disclose in public discussions that the school district actually projects a 61.7% total tax increase, because CISD will push the Montgomery Central Appraisal District Board of Directors to increase property tax appraisals aggressively in order to service the debt.
The tax rate is only part of the equation which determines the total school taxes a person pays. As property tax appraisals increase, by money-hungry taxing entities pushing the Appraisal District to increase those appraisals, taxes skyrocket. For example, in the Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District, taxes have skyrocketed close to 80% since 2011, even though the tax rate has remained relatively flat and actual fair market values of homes have not increased nearly that fast.
The Sage, Bill O’Sullivan’s remarks to the Commissioners Court follow:
“Bill O’Sullivan, Precinct 3. Good morning, Gentlemen.
“Right now we’re in the middle of the CISD bond. I want to talk about some of the problems that have occurred but only to address how we can avoid it on the next road bond.
“There are people out there who are talking about the size of the bond, but they’re not including not including the interest. You’ve got to pay both back. I would hope in the future that if we bring out a road bond that we not only put out the principle amount but the estimated interest, so we get a true picture if the amount of debt that we’re putting the citizens into. [Publisher’s Note: With passage of the $807 million CISD bond set for referendum on May 4, CISD taxpayers will have to pay more than $1.3 billion of interest over the next 18 years. Those interest payments do nothing whatsoever to contribute to better educational outcomes for children.]
“Second thing is that they’re talking about a rate increase. One of the things missed in the rate increase is appraisal creep. They say it’s three percent, but as your appraisal goes up, that three percent goes up. That get to the whole question of appraisal creep…I don’t know if you can cap appraisals and you catch up if you fall behind that. Let’s say it’s 2.5% per year, but you have a 1% year but you put it at 2.5% because you’re catching up. You ultimately catch up when the property tranfers, so you get the full value of the property.
“But it’s something which is causing problems for the taxpayers. It’s something you need to take a long term look at. Thank you.”