Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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August 2, 2013

Tax rolls reflect closures

Corsicana takes biggest hit in property values

Corsicana — The industrial closures that were announced over a year ago have finally come home to roost in the form of lower tax appraisals in Corsicana and Navarro County.

The loss of the Home Depot warehouse and Lance delivered a $40 million hit to the City of Corsicana’s property values, according to certified tax rolls prepared by the Navarro Central Appraisal District.

“You can’t just dismiss that,” said Karen Morris, chief appraiser.

Compared with 2012 values, Corsicana’s property value is down $44 million. Comparatively, Corsicana ISD is down $34.4 million, and Navarro County is down $8.7 million. Not all parts of the county fared equally, obviously.

In fact, Dawson ISD had a terrific bump this year, with values up more than 12 percent since 2012, the result of a new power substation for LoneStar Transmission lines, the power lines that are bringing electricity generated by windmills in West Texas to North Texas.

“Dawson ISD has a huge gain this year because they have the substation located in their district,” Morris said. “So they have a $16.7 million increase this year. Others have increases, but he biggest ones are obviously the losses in Corsicana.”

Blooming Grove ISD also saw growth in property values, more than $8 million; while Mildred saw $3 million in increased value.

For the school districts, the impacts won’t be tremendously damaging or helpful. Within a year or so, the state will take into account any changes in value and adjust its contributions to local education as a result.

“It’s not dollar for dollar, but it adjusts,” confirmed Mike Nielsen with the Corsicana ISD.

Corsicana ISD’s board of trustees will be apprised of the impact at the board’s 6 p.m. Monday meeting, Nielsen said.

The City of Corsicana is cutting back in a variety of areas, although they haven’t suggested cutting personnel yet, according to budget workshops with the city council.

The council is looking at raising some fees on water and trash collections, but they haven’t entertained the idea of raising the tax rate.

The City of Kerens has also lost value, dropping $2 million, which, out of a total value of $38 million, is actually a hit.

City Secretary Cindy Scott said the city isn’t clear on what created the decrease.

“I know there were some devaluations, but I can’t see where they were that much. But nothing new came in either,” she added. “It’s a couple thousand dollars (in city revenue). We still look like we’re going to hold our own on taxes.”

Other parts of the county have seen some increases in mineral accounts and housing, which kept the impact on the county slightly lessened.

Next year things might not be so bleak. Pactiv and Guardian are both adding onto their existing plants, although both have been granted partial tax abatements on the improvements.

“It’s just one of those years,” Morris said. “Everybody likes it when everything is up but we knew that loss was there and we weren’t just going to be able to take care of that value.”

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