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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

TCC board approves tax rate after hearing

Trustee Kenneth Barr makes comments about the tax rate at the board meeting on Thursday Sept. 15, 2022. Alex Hoben/The Collegian
Trustee Kenneth Barr makes comments about the tax rate at the board meeting on Thursday Sept. 15, 2022.
Alex Hoben/The Collegian

ALEX HOBEN
editor-in-chief
alexandra.hoben@my.tccd.edu

A tax rate increase was approved by the TCC board of trustees despite calls against it from concerned Tarrant County residents.

Before the Sept. 15 board meeting, a public hearing was held regarding the rate that was approved during the Aug. 18 meeting for a final vote. This vote was held after the hearing closed and was passed unanimously among the trustees in attendance. Trustee Shannon Wood was absent from the meeting, but she opposed the rate during the previous meeting.

Eighteen people, including Colleyville councilman George Dodson and previous councilwoman Tammy Nakamura, spoke during the hearing all against the approval of the tax rate. Denise Linn, a Tarrant County resident, spoke to the board regarding the rate.

“Personally I’m offended that you would even consider raising taxes right now,” she said. “I feel like this is another example of government totally losing touch with the constituents. I’m a constituent and I’m here to say now is not a time for tax increases and I don’t care what kind of building or planning you have in place, you’re making a very, very bad decision.”

The property tax rate approved is the same as last year’s rate at $0.13017 per $100 of assessed property value. However, due to Tarrant County property values going up, property tax bills have increased.

Trustee Kenneth Barr also spoke about the tax rate and what he believes it will mean for the future of the TCC community.

“We’ve heard a lot of people expressing concern tonight and I think the board has listened and the board hears what’s being said,” Barr said. “But I also just ran some numbers sitting here. The no-new-revenue [figure] that we are proposing, keeping the tax rate at the same level, does result in more revenue on a piece of residential property, worth $200,000. It’s $18.98 a year. That’s 5.2 pennies a day. On a $250,000 house is $23.72 a year, or six and a half cents a day. A million-dollar house, it’s less than $95 a year or about a quarter, $.25 a day. Given the stories we’ve heard here tonight, about how lives are being impacted by what we’re doing at TCC, I think that’s a pretty good buy.”

He said how he joined the board on behalf of the employment in the community, and TCC has done much to help in the building of a skilled workforce in Tarrant County. He also said how the language that the Texas Legislature has adopted to describe tax rates is unfortunate because it says that the tax rate is being increased when it isn’t.

Barr went on to say how they are trying to pull in more young people into enrollment so they can get a better education and build a successful future for themselves and their families for years to come.

“We’re making careers for people,” Barr said. “And the thought that a nickel or a dime a day is more important, that cutting the tax rate is more important, than educating these people I find very offensive. I think we’re doing the right thing.”

After the approval, Linn expressed her frustration with the board, specifically with Barr’s final comments.

“I’m just really disgusted with the way this all went down,” she said. “And the last board member who was speaking about, saying that there was no tax increase when it appears to me that that’s exactly what happened.”

She said how she was offended by the principal and believes that the board should be spending more carefully.

“I don’t care if it’s a nickel a day. It’s not his nickel,” Linn said.

Leota Ritchie, a landowner in Tarrant County, said because she’s never raised the rent of her tenant of 19 years, she and her husband have had to cut into their own retirement savings to pay for rising taxes.

“Usually $2,000-2,500 every year to pay taxes and that affects our future,” Ritchie said.

Burleson resident Al Ebert said he has had to delay his retirement because of the current economy and hopes that Texas will one day adopt a consumption tax.

“We end up paying rent to taxing authorities for a property that we own,” Ebert said.

During the meeting, board president Teresa Ayala shared a few comments before the vote was held.

“We are being fiscally prudent to ensure that we are balancing our ability to take care of our built environment, and to attract and retain a quality workforce and most importantly to meet the needs of the community and the economy,” Ayala said.

Another item approved was a facility lease agreement with Fort Worth ISD for the new early college high school on NW Campus. This agreement will bring in a total revenue of $11.2 million over a 30-year period starting in June 2026. Chief operating officer Susan Alanis spoke on how the relationship with the high school began.

“This particular partnership with Fort Worth ISD began more than four years ago when the college began planning for the redevelopment of the NW Campus,” Alanis said. “You may recall last week we talked about that our first early college high school was actually on that campus and is named, I believe, one of the best high schools in Tarrant County at this point and it’s been a successful partnership.”

Also, after a correction, the employee pay increase and the salary schedule was approved. Barr made a comment regarding the specifics of the agenda item.

“I don’t think I heard you say but I think it’s very important,” he said. “This ratifies the rate of $15 an hour for student employees and I think that’s significant.”

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