Lower oil prices will translate into lower property values for many taxing entities this year, and that could pose problems when itís time for local governments to plan their budgets.
Preliminary values released by the Hockley County Appraisal District show that values this year could be down an average of 18.38 percent for 17 taxing entities.
Values for 14 of those entities are estimated to be down compared to last year.
If those estimates hold true, values will fall from $16.096 billion to $13.138 billion this year.
Mineral values for the entire county could be off nearly 31 percent this year, said Greg Kelley, chief appraiser with the HCAD.
The county will have to be conservative when it comes to spending, said Commissioner Larry Carter.
‘We’ll ask every department to keep spending under control and do what we can. We’ll be very conservative until the values come back,’ Carter said. ‘It’s just the economy we live in. If there are things we can cut, we’ll cut.’
He said the effective tax rate, or the rate necessary to raise the same amount of revenue as this year, will increase. It currently stands at 34.834 cents per $100 value.
While mineral values are down this year, housing and farmland values increased.
The average value of a home in the county is estimated to go up about 4.4 percent this year.
That increase helped offset the decline in mineral values to an extent, Kelley said.
The City of Levellandís overall values are expected to dip about 1.87 percent this year.