Katy ISD voters Nov. 8 rejected a tax ratification measure that, had it passed, would have kept the district’s property tax rate at $1.3517 per $100 evaluation, according to early unofficial returns from the Fort Bend, Harris and Waller County election offices.
By George Slaughter
Katy ISD voters Nov. 8 rejected a tax ratification measure that, had it passed, would have kept the district’s property tax rate at $1.3517 per $100 evaluation, according to unofficial returns from the district.
With the apparent rejection by voters, the district’s overall tax rate will drop from $1.3517 to $1.3048 per $100 property evaluation. The compression comes due to state law, which requires the district’s maintenance and operations, or M&O, rate drop when property values increase.
State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, has some of the Katy ISD area in his legislative district. He established himself as a TRE opponent, saying had voters approved it, the property tax relief enacted by the state legislature would have been wiped out.
“I sounded the taxpayer alarm and made calls to taxpayers to tell them the facts of these proposals and asked them to choose wisely, which they did,” Bettencourt said in a statement. “I hope to never see another school board put on a TRE that tries to confuse taxpayers with the exact same rate as last year to four decimal places ever again. Katy ISD and Fort Bend ISD taxpayers understood this ‘stunt’ and voted to keep their state-funded M&O property tax rate relief on their property tax bills.”
Katy school trustees in August placed the measure on the ballot for voter consideration when they approved the district’s $1.2 billion budget.
Greg Schulte, school board president, said in a statement that asking voters to sustain their current school district was asking much, particularly as the community is coming out of a pandemic and recession.
“This election outcome, while not what we hoped for, is by no means a referendum on our community’s support for the district and our employees,” Schulte said.
Royal ISD voters elected four new school trustees, turning out one incumbent who sought re-election, according to unofficial returns from the Waller County election office.
Scott Hartman won the race for position 1 trustee, drawing 51% against Mona Chavez Rios and incumbent Adrian Rocha, according to unofficial returns.
Jimmy Meader and incumbent Nathaniel Richardson Jr. appear headed for a runoff in the race for position 4 trustee. Kent Kirby finished third, according to unofficial returns.
Perla Aguilar defeated Gary Cruseturner for position 2 trustee. Cori Hillsman Vahalik defeated John Mounsey for position 3 trustee, according to unofficial returns.
In Fort Bend County, incumbent County Judge KP George, a Democrat, defeated challenger Trever Nehls, a Republican, in unofficial returns from the Fort Bend County elections office.
In Harris County, incumbent County Judge Lina Hidalgo, a Democrat, defeated challenger Alexandra Mealer, a Republican, in unofficial returns.
Incumbent Pct. 4 Commissioner R. Jack Cagle, a Republican, lost his re-election bid to Lesley Briones, a Democrat, in unofficial returns.
In Waller County, incumbent Pct. 4 Commissioner Justin Beckendorff, a Republican, defeated challenger Ethel Wilmore, a Democrat, according to unofficial returns from the Waller County elections office.
Both incumbent state senators representing the Katy and Brookshire areas, Republicans Joan Huffman and Lois Kolkhorst, defeated their Democratic challengers Titus Benton and John Huff, respectively.
All election returns are unofficial until they are officially canvassed.
NOTE: This story has been updated from the print version to reflect updated results and reaction since the newspaper went to press.
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