Richardson October 2020

CITY& COUNTY

News from Richardson, Plano ISD & Collin County

Atmos gas rate increase on the horizon inRichardson

ATMOS IN RICHARDSON Rates are going up because of growth and improvements to the Atmos system. Here is a snapshot of the corporation’s local presence.

BY OLIVIA LUECKEMEYER

is proposing a 10-cent increase, up to 27 cents, for residents, and a 2-cent increase, up to 12 cents, for commer- cial customers. Consumption rates are based on usage, Copley said. Normally, rate changes would go into effect Oct. 1; however, Atmos has agreed to a two-month delay, resulting in the Dec. 1 effective date. This will result in systemwide savings of $9 million, which factored into the $80 million recommendation made by the committee, Copley said. Council will vote on the recom- mendation made by the steering committee at its Nov. 2 meeting.

systemwide increase of $141 million, according to a Sept. 28 presentation made by Cara Copley, the assistant director of finance for the city of Richardson. Following negotiations, an increase of roughly $80 million was recommended by the steering committee, Copley said. If approved, the change would raise the minimum residential base rate by 70 cents from $19.55 to $20.25 per month, while the commercial base rate would increase by $8 from $46.50 to $54.50 per month. Consumption rates would also increase, Copley said. The committee

RICHARDSON Residents and businesses could see a natural gas rate increase beginning Dec. 1. The change is the result of a rate review process overseen by the Atmos Cities Steering Committee, of which the city of Richardson is a founding member. Each year, Atmos Energy files a rate request with the committee. Over the course of several months, the committee reviews and negotiates the proposed rate before returning a final recommendation. Atmos originally proposed a

Atmos has added 392MILES of pipe,

repaired 5,045MILES of steel service lines

and invested $18MILLION in capital improvements.

SOURCE: CITY OF RICHARDSON/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Average Plano ISD tax bill expected to decline

TRACKING TAXES The average property tax payment in Plano ISD has increased since 2017 but is starting to decline this fiscal year.

BY MAKENZIE PLUSNICK PLANO ISD Trustees adopted a slightly lower tax rate at their Sept. 29 meeting. The adopted rate of $1.32375 is 1.27% lower than the rate passed in fiscal year 2019-20, according to Chief Financial Officer Randy McDowell. The majority of the total will cover operational costs, such as teacher salaries and benefits, while the remainder will help pay down the district’s debts, McDowell said. With this new rate, the average homeowner in the district will pay $4,894 in property taxes per year, which is down from the average $5,104 paid last fiscal year, McDowell said. Lower property tax payments are driven by two factors, including the compression of state funding due to House Bill 3 and the slight decline in

appraised property value in Plano. “Those two combined is what has decreased, for the upcoming year, the taxes on the average residence within Plano ISD,” he said. The district is expecting to pay about $180 million into the state’s recapture system this school year, McDowell said. This is a $14 million increase from school year 2019-2020. Recapture redistributes property tax dollars from property-wealthy districts to those deemed proper- ty-poor by the state. Despite a trend of higher property tax revenue, the amount of funding that stays in PISD has remained flat over the past few years, McDowell said. “The trend you can see is that the amount of money that stays within the district has stagnated in the last five years, while recapture has

$4,805 $4,894

2021

2020

$5,104

2019

$4,656

2018

$4,287

2017

SOURCE: PLANO ISD/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

grown exponentially,” McDowell said. Officials in the district hope the Legislature, which reconvenes in January, will put a cap on the amount of recapture districts are required to pay. “We are going to continue to see that recapture just grow as long as our [property] values are going up,”

McDowell said. Recapture is not the only reason the district is losing money, McDow- ell said. Millions of dollars are also at stake due to decreased enrollment, which is down by about 2,100 students compared to this year’s projections, he said. “That’s roughly $20 million that we’re losing,” he said.

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