Save Our Services draws area Realtors' support

Campaign signs like this one in front of Mickey Ferrell Realtors in Startzville have been popping up all over Comal County as part of the campaign effort by the Save Our Services Political Action Committee. Many local realtors assisted in posting them throughout the county to show their support. Photo by Kevin Force.

by Crystal Gottfried, Staff Writer

Jeani Richie and Mark Hampton of New Braunfels/Canyon Lake Realtors Association were busy putting up signs urging people to Vote No to rollback county taxes.

The realtors association, with 450 area members and more than 750 MLS subscribers, is in the process of delivering a full endorsement.

"It's not official yet," said Richie, the president of the NBCLAR. "We have to have approval from the state association to do any endorsements or contributions."

While the official endorsement is pending, many of the area's realtors have been involved with Save Our Services from the start and have decided to contact local clients who will host sites for the PAC's blue and yellow signs.

"How wonderful it is to have their support," Kennady told the Times Guardian. "What a shot in the arm it is to us in Save our Services, as well as to all the employees of Comal County and the citizens who are vitally interested in the future of our county."

Kennady has already scheduled meetings with homeowners associations and having coffee meetings with citizens who want to find out more about the rollback before the election on May 13.

All of the county commissioners, the county judge, and several county employees are participating in this effort during non-working hours along with more than 75 Save Our Services members who are also working hard to get the word out that the rollback election would be detrimental to the progress that the county has made.

According to Jan Kennady, some people that she meets and talks with are still under the impression that this rollback election will help reduce their school tax bill.

"This rollback election only affects county taxes; not school and not city taxes," she said.

It's so important for folks to know that ­ county taxes have been kept so low over the last several years."

If county commissioners had raised taxes each year by even 4 percent of the effective tax rate over the last seven years, the tax rate would be much higher than $0.35 per $100 of valuation which is the currently adopted tax rate. The state allows counties a maximum tax rate of $0.80 per $100 valuation and Comal County has maintained one of the lowest in the state.

The effective tax rate is the rate at which the county could raise the same amount of taxes as in the previous year.

If the rollback election is successful, there would be cut-backs throughout the county to account for an estimated $529,000 that would be returned to taxpayers. Taxpayers would also be paying $25,000 - $30,000 for the special election and the county may need to hire additional people to make the calculations for the 83,000 parcels of land in the county.

Cutbacks could come from reductions in road maintenance projects which cover about 750 miles of roads in the county; from reductions in county park services or with reductions in county boat ramp maintenance.

The county's recycling program may have to be discontinued and that would lead to higher trash collection rates in the future. The program currently supports 40 percent of its budget through the sale of recycled aluminum and paper and the program helps to save space in the county landfill.

County Judge Danny Scheel has spoken on several occasions that once the county's landfill is at capacity, there will be no more landfills allowed in Comal County. That means that county citizens will pay more to have their garbage trucked to other locations outside the county.

Proponents of the rollback may not care what the county has to spend to make their point, but Save Our Services PAC members do.

And now, realtors in New Braunfels and Canyon Lake have stepped up to the plate by announcing their endorsement of the county judge and commissioners, and by supporting the PAC's efforts to defeat the rollback.

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