Focus on Special-Purpose District Taxes
Special-purpose districts (SPDs) are units of local government that provide services to specific groups of constituents. Most Texas SPDs have the authority to levy taxes on personal and commercial property. The Legislature first authorized SPDs in the form of water districts in 1904, to provide irrigation services. Today, 1,433 SPDs assess and collect property taxes to provide services including city transit, crime control, county development and improvement, economic development, emergency services, fire prevention, health, hospitals, community colleges, library, municipal and town development and improvement, utilities, noxious weed control, ports and roads.
Property Tax Code Section 5.09 authorizes the Comptroller to provide detailed property tax information for special-purpose taxing units in its annual report. This chapter provides 2006 SPD property tax information from data reported to the Comptroller's office.
The average tax rate levied by SPDs was $0.4256 in 2006, 7.3 percent more than 2005's average of $0.3967. More than half of the tax rate average is dedicated to I&S, or debt service. In 2006, SPDs dedicated an average $0.2173 of their taxes to debt, compared to $0.2070 for M&O. In 2006, the Dallas County Flood Control District assessed the highest tax rate of all Texas SPDs, at $2.8355 per $100 of valuation. Almost all of this rate was dedicated to debt service ($2.8338). The Gillespie County Water Control and Improvement District only collects $0.0001 per $100 of valuation, all of which is dedicated to M&O. Eighty-four SPDs do not have an M&O tax, while 723 do not have one for I&S.
In 2006, these rates generated more than $3.9 billion in tax revenue for SPDs, $362.5 million more than in 2005. The largest SPD in terms of its tax levy was the Harris County Hospital District, with 2006 revenue of $434.2 million (Table 24). Four of the top ten SPDs are hospital or health-related districts; five are community college districts; and one is a flood control district. At the other end of the spectrum is the Brushy Creek Municipal Utility District - Cornerstone, with a 2006 tax levy of $40.
Table 25 groups the SPDs according to the appraisal districts in which they are located, and lists the appraisal districts in alphabetical order. Some SPDs appear more than once because more than one appraisal district may appraise property for them. Jasper CAD did not report rates and levies for six active SPDs; these are listed in Table 25 with zero values.
TABLE 24: Top Ten Special Purpose Districts in Tax Levy - 2006
|Special District Name||Appraised Value||Taxable Value||M&O Tax Rate||I&S Tax Rate||Total Tax Rate||Tax Levy|
|Harris County Hospital District||$ 274,275,610,352||$ 226,177,630,973||$ 0.1920||$ 0.0000||$ 0.1920||$ 434,261,051|
|Dallas County Hospital District||$ 184,333,413,454||$ 146,318,028,516||$ 0.2540||$ 0.0000||$ 0.2540||$ 371,647,792|
|Tarrant County Hospital District||$ 115,918,567,591||$ 105,860,916,141||$ 0.2341||$ 0.0013||$ 0.2354||$ 249,193,421|
|University Health System||$ 82,698,291,315||$ 79,089,575,729||$ 0.2439||$ 0.0000||$ 0.2439||$ 192,880,945|
|Tarrant County College||$ 115,918,567,591||$ 106,488,486,350||$ 0.1307||$ 0.0087||$ 0.1394||$ 148,423,652|
|Dallas County Community College District||$ 184,333,413,454||$ 151,810,514,028||$ 0.0778||$ 0.0032||$ 0.0810||$ 122,966,516|
|Alamo Community College District||$ 82,698,291,315||$ 77,154,853,499||$ 0.0923||$ 0.0447||$ 0.1371||$ 105,740,726|
|Houston Community College System||$ 99,572,850,750||$ 89,295,507,941||$ 0.0810||$ 0.0140||$ 0.0950||$ 84,830,733|
|North Harris-Montgomery College District||$ 75,846,434,393||$ 70,669,008,940||$ 0.0820||$ 0.0350||$ 0.1170||$ 82,682,740|
|Harris County Flood Control District||$ 274,275,713,116||$ 226,156,535,545||$ 0.0270||$ 0.0050||$ 0.0320||$ 72,370,091|
Source: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Property Tax Assistance Division.
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