Property Tax Post: Pests Prompt Pumped Up Property Tax Payments


It’s almost Memorial Day, and for many people, that means mosquito season is upon us. In an attempt to deal with the seasonal scourge, many states permit the creation of mosquito control districts. Of course, mosquito sprayers don’t generally work for free, so a potential downside for property owners in need of pest control is the possibility of increased property taxes.

In Texas, where I have extensive personal history with mosquitos, counties have been authorized to establish mosquito control districts since 1989. These mosquito control districts can be established if 200 qualified voters of a county petition a county judge. After receiving the petition, the judge may call an election to determine whether to establish a mosquito control district. These mosquito control districts may impose a property tax of up to $0.25 on each $100 of the property’s taxable value to finance eradicating these pests. These mosquito control districts may be dissolved upon an election after a petition from 10 percent of a county’s qualified voters.

Florida currently has 61 separate mosquito control programs, according to the University of Florida/IFAS Extension. These mosquito control districts were organized for the rather elegant sounding “abatement or suppression of arthropods, whether disease-bearing or merely pestiferous.” Starting in 1980, Florida prohibited the creation of new mosquito control districts but allows districts established before July 1, 1980, to continue operating. After 1980, counties became responsible for mosquito control.

Washington also allows creating mosquito control districts after an election by three-fifths of a proposed district’s voters. The maximum rate for the mosquito control district tax is $0.25 per $1,000 of assessed value. Currently Washington has 18 mosquito control districts statewide, according to the Municipal Research and Services Center.

However states try to limit the proliferation of pests, I’ll be sure to wear my bug spray this weekend!

Continue the discussion on Bloomberg Tax’s State Tax Group on LinkedIn: Should states raise property taxes to pay for mosquito control?

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