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Council OKs new tax split agreement
Tax graphic

The Ceres City Council gave its approval Monday evening to the new county’s master property tax sharing agreement which should result in an additional $215,984 per year into the city’s revenue stream.

The funds will go into the General Fund and could bolster public safety, park maintenance, code enforcement or wherever the council allocates it.

The new agreement will replace the one that has been in place since 1996. It determines how taxes are split for homes and properties annexed from the county into the cities. That agreement had the county retaining all base funding, while tax increment (or growth) was split at a 70-30 percent rate to the county and cities, respectively.

The new agreement calls for the revenue growth for the new tax rate areas to be split 50-50. That should result in cities netting an average of $1,365 in revenue per $1 million in assessed value growth while the county will net $637.

“It’s definitely a better deal than what we have currently,” City Manager Alex Terrazas told the council on Monday.

He also noted that the county wants to give cities an incentive to consider annexations of county islands within city limits and thus is open to separate tax sharing agreements in those situations.

The county and cities don’t get to keep all of their respective shares of property tax revenue. The county turns over 55 percent to the Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund (ERAF) while the cities each surrender an average of 26 percent. That means the cities get to spend an average of $946 in revenue for every $1 million assessed compared to $891 for the county.

The cities’ gain will result in a loss to the county. In looking at the past five years, on average shifting to a 50-50 formula would have reduced county property tax growth revenue by $1.3 million per year, while increasing city revenue $2.1 million annually. The difference of approximately $800,000 is the result of the county requirement to shift a greater portion (55 percent) of property taxes to ERAF while cities shift an average of 26 percent.

Ceres Vice Mayor Bret Silveira praised the new agreement as great for Ceres and the eight other cities.