Central Well being to re-examine homestead exemptions

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Home with Austin skyline in background

Central Health will look at modifying its property tax homestead exemptions for elderly residents and residents with disabilities. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

Following a period of soaring growth in the total value of taxable properties in Travis County, officials at Central Health said they are going to look at the organization’s homestead exemptions over the next month.

Jeff Knodel, vice president and chief financial officer at Central Health, told the Central Health board of managers May 26 that his office will collaborate with Travis County through May and June to examine property tax homestead exemptions, particularly exemptions for residents over 65 years of age and residents with disabilities.

“We are working with Travis County Budget Office staff, and we’re doing a lot of data exploration to look at some ratios related to exemptions,” Knodel said.

Central Health’s general homestead exemption is capped at 20%, the maximum allowable by law, according to documents from the health care district.

Further, residents over 65 years of age or residents with disabilities who pay property taxes to Central Health can currently utilize homestead exemptions up to $85,500 annually.

The health care district is currently looking at those figures and could adjust them to potentially give tax bill relief to at-risk Travis County residents, such as the elderly or disabled.

It is possible Central Health could follow patterns recently set by other local taxing entities. The Williamson County Commissioners Court voted May 25 to extend its homestead exemptions for certain members of the population.

The vote increased the existing $30,000 tax exemption for Williamson County residents age 65 and older to $90,000 and the $20,000 tax exemption for disabled residents to $75,000.

Central Health’s analysis of its homestead exemptions and the impact they have on local taxpayers comes as Travis County recently experienced a collective double-digit percentage jump in total assessed values.

The Travis Central Appraisal District sent out 2021 notices of appraisal to Travis County property owners in April for a collective $323 billion of appraised value—a 12% increase in its appraisal roll since 2020.

“Everyone knows Travis County has been a high-growth area,” Knodel said May 26.

The Central Health board of managers did not vote on any decision about the health care district’s homestead values on May 26. Knodel said his staff will likely bring an action item to the board at its next regularly scheduled meeting in late June.

Note from the editor: This article has been edited to clarify that the 12% increase it total appraised value was from the Travis Central Appraisal District’s 2020 appraisals.