LISD adopts lower rate but property values cause taxes to rise

The Leander ISD Board of Trustees adopted a total 2021 property tax rate of $1.3370 on August 27 with a vote of 4-3 shortly after midnight.

For the third consecutive year, the board decreased the property tax rate, though area homeowners will still see a tax increase due to rising property values.   

The average homeowner in LISD will pay some $56 more in property taxes with new rate.

The rate reflects a decrease of over eight cents from the 2020 tax rate of $1.4184. That includes $0.8720 for the maintenance and operations (M&O) fund and $0.4650 for the interest and sinking (I&S) fund.  

Place Six Member Aaron Johnson clarified that collecting more taxes than the board is obligated to allows the district to “pay down” debt faster.

“I want our community to know that we’re managing finances so that rate is either steady or declining, and it’s not going up again,” Johnson said.

This includes $0.8720 for Maintenance and Operations (M&O) and $0.4650 for Interest and Sinking (I&S). 

Board Secretary Elexis Grimes opposed the tax rate, saying that she wanted a rate of $0.4625 for I&S.

“I thought that was a good route,” Grimes said. “And then to reassess next year what we’re doing with I&S and offsetting those conversations.”

Jim MacKay, who motioned to keep the I&S tax rate the same, called the $0.4650 an opportunity to get “the best of both worlds,” if the district doesn’t put itself “in a position” to raise the tax rate next year.

The adopted I&S tax rate will fund debt service expenditures of $100,000, which the board also approved on August 27.

The board approved a $387.5 million operating budget in June.

“Trustees dedicated hours of discussion to deciding the best way to maximize our community’s investment in our schools before adopting the tax rate.” Board President Trish Bode said. “We believe this rate serves that purpose while maintaining our district’s strong financial footing ahead of a bond election in November.”

Lilly Chandler of Hill Country News contributed to this article.