Wise County added a record $378 million in new construction to the tax rolls.
The record amount pushed the overall value for all properties in the county to $11.5 billion, according to the certified property values released this week by the Wise County Central Appraisal District. Overall, the county’s tax roll grew by 28.47 percent.
The record new construction will represent $335 million in new taxable values after homestead exemptions, according to Chief Appraiser Mickey Hand. The total of new construction was an increase of $112 million from last year’s record of $266.5 million of new additions.
“New construction for 2021 countywide came in at record level of $378 million with $335 million of that being taxable,” Hand said. “The reduction is due the new property owners filing for their homestead exemptions as allowed. Northwest ISD led the ISDs with $93 million, followed by Decatur ISD at $82 million. Cities were led by Decatur at $10 million with Runaway Bay at $8 million.”
According to 911 Addressing Director Wacy Beck, the county added 1,007 addresses in 2021.
With the final new construction total along with gains in current real estate and mineral values, Wise County’s tax roll was up just shy of $3 billion from last year’s $8.758 billion. It was also slightly more than the preliminary estimate of $10.1 billion earlier this spring.
“The overall total was a lot higher than the preliminary,” said Wise County Judge J.D. Clark.
After receiving the certified values, Clark plans to bring a preliminary budget to county commissioners Aug. 8. He will be working with Wise County Tax Assessor/Collector Monte Shaw to figure a proposed tax rate. Clark is hopeful with the new construction to possibly lower the overall tax rate. The county’s current rate is 34 cents — 29.5 cents for the general fund and 4.5 cents for road and bridge.
“The value of the new construction is the new growth helps contribute to paying for the services they are putting the demand on,” Clark said. “We hope to give the taxpayers some relief with the help of the $335 million in new growth.”
Taxpayers will see their properties rise. The average home value countywide increased from $218,628 to $292,730.
“This is partly due to market value increase and new homes are more expensive,” Hand said. “New homes are running more than $335,000, with large numbers of those affecting the average.
“Real Estate values jumped across the board in the 15 to 20 percent range with some areas experiencing more rapid growth due to new construction. In the cities, City of Paradise led the way with 28 percent growth, with Runaway Bay close behind at 23 percent. On the ISD side, the Northwest ISD portion of Wise County led the way at 26 percent, with Alvord ISD, Boyd ISD, and Slidell ISD in the 22 to 23 percent increase range.”
Homeowners will get some relief with the additional homestead exemption, approved by voters in May. The homestead exemption for school taxes increased from $25,000 to $40,000.
Along with real estate values soaring, the county saw a big bounce back for mineral values. In the past year, mineral values jump 122 percent from $721 million to $1.55 billion. Hand said increased prices for natural gas and natural gas liquid drove the increase in values.
“Oil and gas came roaring back with Wise County values,” Hand said. “This was the biggest surprise from preliminary estimate only being $1 billion. Lots of appraisal activity is still in the works when preliminary numbers must be released. Jacksboro ISD (Wise County portion) led the way at 201 percent followed closely by Slidell ISD, which was up 181 percent from last year. Most all of the other entities were up 100 percent as well.”
The Wise County portion of Slidell ISD, which stretches into four counties, was up 56.9 percent in total value at $342.7 million. With its growth in student enrollment, the district will avoid recapture — having to send money to state. Slidell ISD Superintendent Taylor Williams said the district is expected to have 420 students, up from 388 at the end of last year. A new development on Farm Road 455 could bring another 75 students in the next year.
“The student growth has been a positive impact. We’re not having to send money back to the state,” Williams said.
Schools will be working through formulas to figure out the impact of the growth in the tax rolls on state funding and the local maintenance and operations tax rate. The state establishes a compression rate for the school districts.
After its tax roll grew to $3.43 billion from $2.76 billion, Decatur ISD is expected to see its compressed maintenance and operations tax rate drop from 89 cents per $100 valuation to around 85 cents, the lowest compressed rate.
Bridgeport ISD and Boyd ISD also topped $1 billion in total values.
Of cities, only Decatur was above $1 billion. The city added $10.1 million in new construction. Decatur’s overall tax roll added 15.54 percent.
New Fairview had the largest percentage increase among cities. Its tax roll jumped 50.73 percent from $150.7 million to $227.1 million.
Hand said his office set a record with 15,374 protests filed this year. The previous high mark was 12,655 in 2018. Mineral protests accounted for 7,342 of the record number. Real property protests were 5,142.
“Hats off to our staff, with over half of the staff working seven-day weeks the past two months in order to get the job done,” Hand said. “This was partially the result of being four staff members short in addition to the protests.”
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