RANGER – Issues regarding the ballot language and whether or not the Board of Trustees are bound by the state mandated proposed rate of $.11/$100 valuation were answered by former Texas Secretary of State General Counsel, Trey Trainor, who was also appointed by President Trump last week to the Federal Election Commission. State law requires the ballot to only list the current tax rate, even though Ranger College was also required by state law to declare the proposed rate when publishing the service plan in May.
Some on social media have incorrectly claimed the rate would be $.43/$100, the current rate and have stated Ranger College is not bound by the $.11/$100 proposed rate. Mr. Trainor’s letter resolves this issue by stating the proposed rate of $.11/$100 would be the required rate.
In his letter to Ranger College President Bill Campion, Mr. Trainor explained, “Article VIII, Section 1A of The Texas Constitution requires all jurisdictions that have voted to be in-district members of Ranger College to be taxed at the same level. Should voters in Brown, Comanche and/or Erath County approve joining the Ranger College District their tax rate would be $.11 per $100 assessed property value as the Ranger College Board of Trustees has stated publicly as required by State law. In fact, in order to avoid significant legal liability, the new tax rate adopted in August 2018 can be no greater than $.11 per $100 of assessed 2018 property value.”
Explaining why the ballot language only uses the current $.43/100 rate, Mr. Trainor added, “the ballot language Ranger College is using is set by the Texas Education Code. Neither the board nor county clerks can change the language. State Law requires ballot language to list the current tax rate, not the proposed tax rate.”
“In August of 2018, the Ranger College Board of Trustees is required to adopt a new tax rate on assessed property value that would be paid in 2019. Importantly, the law does not allow taxes to be assessed retroactively so taxpayers in the newly annexed territory will not be liable at the current Ranger ISD (Independent School District) rate of $.223 per $100 M&O and $.21 per $100 I&S tax rates approved by the Ranger ISD voters in 2016, for the combined rate of $.43 per $100. The tax rate to be levied on the newly annexed areas will be the rate adopted by the board in August of 2018,” Trainor said.
Citizens in Brown, Comanche and Erath Counties signed petitions this summer calling for the election to join the Ranger College district. State law required Ranger College to order the election this Nov. 7.