STANFORD — City Council members voted Thursday night to keep real and personal property taxes at the same rate for 2012 as they were last year.
Property Valuation Administrator David Gambrel said by keeping the same rate, the city would still see an increase in revenue because of annexations that expanded the amount of property subject to city taxes.
Multiple annexations in 2011, including the annexation of Walmart and the Lincoln County schools along U.S. 27, added hundreds of acres of commercial and public properties to the city limits.
By keeping property taxes the same, Stanford will still see an increase of more than $23,000 from real property taxes, from $190,620 in 2011 to $213,892 in 2012, Gambrel said.
The city will also get close to $6,000 more from personal property taxes, going from $15,734 in 2011 to around $21,610 in 2012, he added.
Following Gambrel's detailed explanation of how property taxes function, Mayor Bill Miracle recommended the council members leave rates the same for 2012.
Councilman Eddie Carter made the motion to pass a resolution keeping rates at 13.1 cents per $100 of real property value and 11.8 cents per $100 of personal property value. The council voted unanimously in favor of the resolution.
City Attorney John Hackley said he will draft the appropriate ordinance supporting the resolution and the council will be able to vote on that in future meetings.
Alternatively, council members could have voted to take a 4-percent increase, which would have increased the real property tax rate to 13.6 cents per $100. Gambrel said such an increase would have added almost $8,000 more in real property tax revenue.
The city council could also have generated up to $9,173 in revenue from increasing the personal property tax, Gambrel noted.
Gambrel said the city is in a different boat from the county because the annexed land has increased Stanford's total property value, while total property value in the county is on the decline.
Houses around the county are abandoned and falling into disrepair, leading to large devaluations. Gambrel said one example is a house that was valued at $80,000 eight years ago is now worth just $30,000.
Gambrel has previously estimated the total property value loss in Lincoln County at around $4 million.
"A lot of things that happened nationally are really coming home here," he said. "This is the first time I've dealt with more abandoned and neglected property than I have new property."