McAllen tax rate increase likely following bond election

McALLEN — City officials here held their second tax rate hearing Monday for the public to provide feedback to commissioners before they vote later this month to increase the property tax rate in McAllen, which would pay for drainage and traffic projects that voters approved in a 2018 bond election.

But the only people who showed up for Monday’s hearing were city staff and a student required to attend a city meeting.

“Are you guys here for school?” City Manager Roel “Roy” Rodriguez said to a pair of people sitting in the back of the commission chambers before the meeting began. “This meeting’s going to be, like, five minutes.”

It indeed lasted five, and city commissioners are all but set to vote before September ends to increase the property tax rate by about 1.6 cents per $100 in taxable assessed valuation, which Mayor Jim Darling said would cost the average McAllen property owner $650.13 annually.

“Did you say $650?” City Commissioner Veronica Whitacre said.

City officials said the property tax increase is strictly to pay for the $25 million in bonds that McAllen voters in May 2018 approved in a bond election, which seeks to improve drainage and traffic throughout the city.

City commissioners will vote on the tax increase at a Sept. 23 meeting.

The tax increase comes as other cities consider similar options, such as Mission, where the city council might increase taxes by 3.5 cents. When Whitacre on Monday asked about the Hidalgo County tax rate, though, Darling said the county is actually considering a tax reduction.

“The county’s in much worse shape than we are,” Darling said, when discussing new property tax caps implemented by the state. “But the county doesn’t have other sources of revenue such as sales tax, bridge revenues.”