City of Presidio approves property valuations and proposed tax rate

PRESIDIO — Last week, Presidio City Council voted to accept the county’s certified property tax valuation and also voted on Tuesday night to approve the county’s proposed tax rate. Both measures will give the county an idea of how much money to expect from the property tax pool — a critical part of the city’s budget. 

Both the property valuation study and the proposed tax rate reveal a trend: property values in Presidio are steadily increasing, jumping 11% between 2022 and 2023. The tax rate has decreased, meaning that the amount of money the city has skimmed from taxes remains relatively steady year to year, despite the fact that the market is heating up.

The City of Presidio contracts with the Presidio County Appraisal District to do the math. The city pays around $23,000 a year for their services, which cycle through a process of appraising properties, setting tax rates, sending out appraisal notices and settling with individual landowners during an appeals process. 

PCAD conducted an exhaustive study to determine how much values had risen. There are 3,310 properties on the tax roll in the City of Presidio with a total market value of $230,671,054. The total taxable value of these properties is $183,290,250. 

“Market price” refers to the fair market value of a certain property — in other words, a reasonable price to ask for the property during a sale. Taxable value tends to be around 70-80% of the market price, meaning that both values can fluctuate with real estate booms and busts, but taxable value is reliably less. 

This year’s proposed tax rate is $0.581577 per $100 of valuation, combining $0.479757 per $100 for maintenance and operations and $0.10182 for “debt service,” or the money the city pays in principal and interest on its debts. Last year’s tax rate was $0.595088 per $100. 

PCAD Chief Appraiser Cynthia Ramirez explained that some of the jump in valuation this year was due to the state-wide rules that govern local appraisal districts. Appraisal districts must pass a rolling series of “studies” every few years, proving to state officials that they are appraising properties within 5% of market value. 

School districts are one of the main beneficiaries of property taxes, relying on a combination of tax and state funding to operate. Last year, Presidio ISD didn’t pass its property value study, leaving the district vulnerable to having its state funding taken away. “In order to be in compliance with what the state thinks property values for Presidio should be, we did do an increase [in appraised value] on residential properties,” she explained. 

Ramirez has been PCAD chief appraiser for 10 years and has seen the market change dramatically during that time. One of the biggest changes she’s seen are short-term rentals — platforms like AirBNB and VRBO have boomed over the past decade. She’s been surprised to see them growing outside of Marfa. “They’ve started trickling down to south county — that’s something new we’re having to deal with,” she said. 

Under Texas law, the county must keep property owners informed as the appraisal district and the tax assessor-collector’s office go through the annual cycle of determining values and tax rates and then levying those rates. Presidio County property owners can visit the county’s Truth in Taxation website to learn more about this process and to see information about their property: