Martin County Property Value Could Drastically Decline

Martin County Property Value Could Drastically Decline

MARTIN COUNTY, TX (KWES) - The current oil bust we're seeing may affect the tax rates in Martin County. Preliminary numbers show property values could drastically drop.

"It's not quite as bad as everybody was predicting when we first started with the downturn in the oil business," said Martin County Judge Bryan Cox.

He remains optimistic about the possible tax situation that will be solidified in July. He says residents may see a change in their tax rates.

"If we're going to do something like that, it could mean an increase in your taxes," he explained. "It just depends on where we end up and what that is going to consist of. It affects everyone here that lives here and works here."

Due to last year's oil boom, Martin County's property values spiked to $6.2 billion. That number could drop 20 percent to an estimated $4.8 billion.

"If you have a 20% decline then we need to go upon our taxes," said Judge Cox. "But that's not necessarily so because it depends on the court and what they want to do."

That is still an ongoing process Cox says. Martin County will begin looking at preliminary budgets within about 45 days and that is where an effective tax rate will be concluded. But there may have to be some changes. The Judge says that keeping a tighter budget is key.

"There are places you can cut back a little here, a little there and reduce the amount of money you need to run the county," he said.

There is one thing Judge Cox made clear: Martin County is full of farmers and ranchers that can handle the trials and tribulations of the economy.

"It's just one of those deals that I think we understand," said Judge Cox. "I think most people out here understand that's just the way it is. Our tax rate is just up and down with the price of oil. If you take 20% of where we are now, that'd be roughly a nickel, so a nickel on $100 is what it would turn in to."