What Do Your Property Taxes Go Towards?
As a property owner, you receive a bill every year for your property taxes. The amount on your bill is determined based on the estimated value of your property.
The worth of your building depends on more than just your building itself—the community affects value as well. Maybe your bill seems high. Ever wondered, Where does all this money go? Then read on.
In Texas, property taxes are set by local government. They are also used locally, so the money you pay remains in your community.
Municipality Tax Revenue funds public services in your community, and a significant portion of this revenue is comprised of property taxes.
The way your property is valued gives you a hint as to what the government uses your property taxes for.
Your tax bill will list the main areas your money goes to fund. It does not provide many details, however, and you may be left wondering why it is so high.
This is why we have compiled this list of 8 ways the Government uses your Property Taxes.
8 Things Property Tax Money Go To1
This is most likely the largest percentage listed on your annual property tax bill. Property taxes contribute significantly to funding public education in Texas.
Access to good public schools means the average home value will be higher in that area. Higher property value means higher property taxes.
Texas is home to over 7 million children—that’s 10% of kids in the U.S., according to ForABetterTexas.org. Educating such a large percentage of Americans is a huge responsibility.
Even if you do not currently have children in public schools, remember that everyone benefits in some way from public education.
If good public schools are available in your area, that means your community will be better-educated and provide a better workforce. The kids in public schools today might be your doctor or dentist a few years from now.
If you drive or use public transport, then you appreciate well-paved, pot-hole free roads. Property taxes fund local road maintenance, construction, and repair.
They keep your community streets drivable in inclement weather by clearing snow, ice, storm debris, etc. They also keep streetlights lit, traffic lights functioning, and street signs in good repair.
Parks and Recreation
Public green spaces are important for communities. They are often home to playgrounds for children and provide open spaces for outdoor exercise, which benefits public health.
Many parks also have shelters and barbecues that can be reserved for parties, reunions, or community events.
Property taxes help maintain public parks, keeping them clean and green for the community. They pay for everything from the plants in public gardens to the yard workers who tend them.
The parks and recreation department of local government also provides valuable community activities. These include sports camps for kids, exercise classes for adults, and team sports leagues.
Public Safety and Police Force
Nice streets and parks would be of little use if you did not feel safe in them. That is why public safety and the police force are an essential part of the community.
While traffic violations and fines generate some revenue for the police force, it is not enough to cover the costs. For this reason, property taxes are needed to pay the salaries and benefits of these public servants.
When looking for a new home, most people consider the crime rates in an area. Homes in safer communities have higher property values, and thus higher property taxes.
Fire Department and Emergency Services
9-1-1: everyone knows these three numbers. You can call for emergency services at any time of day or night, and someone will respond. This service, along with the all-important fire department, are paid for by property taxes.
Who doesn’t consider peace-of-mind worth paying for? You are unlikely to ever hear a politician say he or she would like to reduce property taxes by firing firefighters.
Additionally, these popular public services will probably only make up a small portion of your property tax bill.
Another popular public service that local government uses your property taxes to fund are libraries. You probably know that libraries offer a free borrowing service for all residents to check out books, DVDs, and CDs.
Did you know, however, that there is much, much more that libraries do for communities, though?
Librarians offer a variety of free community classes, aid residents seeking jobs, and provide public spaces for studying or meeting.
They promote literacy, help patrons find information, and provide equal access for community members of all socio-economic levels.
Overall, libraries are a valuable community asset, make up a small portion of your bill, and meet little tax resistance.
Local Government Administration
From the mayor to his or her administrative assistant, the salaries and benefits of your local public officials are paid by property taxes.
This money also pays for their offices and buildings, like city hall. All the previously mentioned services must be managed by someone.
City officials also regulate the sewage system, ensure the availability of safe drinking water, and set building regulations. These things keep communities safe and healthy.
Miscellaneous Public Services
Because property taxes are set locally, the exact items your money goes to will differ depending on where you live.
Other common services paid for in whole or part by your property taxes can include: hospitals, community mental health centers, animal control, museums, archives, public pools, and even—in some communities—waste removal and water utilities.
Overall, your government uses your property taxes to pay for your quality of life. They fund the roads on which you drive, the police who monitor that others drive safely, and the schools that educated those police.
They ensure kids have safe places to learn, play, and grow. If you live in a safe area with good schools and enjoy a variety of public services, you will see this reflected in your annual property tax bill.
About the Author: Direct Tax Loan is the largest online platform in the United States that connects top property tax lenders with residential and commercial borrowers. Regardless of where you are located in the state of Texas or Nevada, we’ll be thrilled to connect you with reputable lenders and help you pay off your property tax bill.