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Environment

SARA Approves Lower Tax Rate Due To Higher Home Values

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Bexar County

  

It’s that time of year again, when taxing entities come up with new budgets and go to taxpayers with rate increases – or in some cases, decreases.

The San Antonio River Authority is one of those taxing entities and has set a new, lower tax rate for the next fiscal year, but it means a slight increase for most homeowners because of rising property values.

SARA will be taking on new efforts to protect the watershed and increase enjoyment of the San Antonio River this year. Manager Suzanne Scott said thanks to higher home values, SARA was able to lower its tax rate from $0.0177 to $0.0175 to reach the totals needed for the General Fund budget.  

"We thought our tax rate was going to remain flat and it would be about 1.77 cents per $100 valuation. But we were able to reduce it slightly to about 1.75 cents,"  Scott said. 

Although the tax rate is lower, the result will be an extra $1.04 per year on the average homestead.

SARA has been able to discover some efficiencies in the management and maintenance of the Museum Reach and Mission Reach, and along the way has reduced amounts in the budget allocated for those responsibilities.

Scott said the lion’s share of the $95.7 million fund is used for flood control but funds also go to water quality and improvement projects.

"We do water-quality monitoring. We're increasing the capacity of our laboratory so we can begin to test metals in sediment and in water,"' Scott said. "We're also providing more information as far as modeling in our flood warning system -- our flood alert system. We're doing watershed master plans. We're doing a lot of work in sustainability, looking at low-impact development strategies."

SARA also develops parks and paddling trails. And it had a hand in the San Pedro Creek Restoration Project, which is just getting started.

"We're funding some of the project management and the community outreach on that project while the county is funding the design and the construction. Our tax dollars cannot be used for capital construction projects, but we can do a lot of the technical planning on the front end and the operations and maintenance on the back end of a project," Scott said. 

The tax rate for SARA must be constant for all four counties in the district. That includes Bexar, Wilson, Karnes and Goliad.