Ask Amy: Lowering your property tax bills + water meter mistakes

You’ve probably already gotten your property tax appraisal in the mail. We’ve heard your concerns. I talked with Senator Paul Bettencourt about how current legislation in Austin could lower your property tax bills based on those appraisals. Plus, learn how your water meter may lead to higher bills.

Legislation in Austin could help lower property tax bills

If there is one thing lawmakers in Austin seem to agree on this session it’s helping people save money on property taxes. Right now there are at least three bills in the works that could save you hundreds of dollars.

(Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune)

Senator Paul Bettencourt is the former Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector and is known as “the architect” for the Senate’s property tax plan. He explains how Senate Bill Three would raise the amount of your home’s value that cannot be taxed meaning your tax bill will be lower.

“Average home is about $331,000 right now. We are going to raise the homestead exemption from $40,000 to $70,000. That’s for the average home. And then we are going to be driving down tax rates on top of it,” said Bettencourt. “The bigger home you have the more you get. As the value times the rate equals the bill. The good news is, for the average home, this is about a 25% reduction in school taxes - boom like that.”

He says the average homeowner would save about $800 a year. There are other senate bills in the works, too.

(Copyright 2023 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)
(Copyright 2023 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

If the House passes the bills, Texans will get a chance to vote on them in November. If they pass, the cuts go into effect immediately, meaning you’ll see it a couple of months later on January 31.

You can see more about each of these bills in the Ask Amy episode show notes.

KPRC 2 Investigates: Outdated water equipment = inaccurate bills

(Copyright 2023 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

We’ve heard your concerns about inaccurate and excessive water bills. As KPRC 2 Investigates continues digging into these Houston water department issues leaving you “DRAINED,” Amy Davis discovered one of the many problems is outdated and non-working equipment. This problem translates into inaccurate bills.

There are about 500,000 water meters in Houston. Each of them is outfitted with a reading device on it that transmits your meter reading back to the water department. But the reading devices are now more than 20 years old, and most no longer work. Learn how many meters this impacts and the plan to fix the problem.

Waiting for windows

Did you see what happened when I stopped by the headquarters for America’s Choice Windows last week? I wanted to ask why customers have been waiting for nearly a year after paying a lot of money for windows. SEE MORE HERE.

Do you have a question for me? Email!

About the Authors:

Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.

Award-winning TV producer and content creator. My goal as a journalist is to help people. Faith and family motivate me. Running keeps me sane.