2017 NEWS

October 21, 2017 - Help register Travis County's eligible voters by becoming a Volunteer Deputy Registrar

RegisterBeCountedsm

Travis County invites residents 18 years and older to become Volunteer Deputy Registrars, qualifying them to register voters for the March 6, 2018 Primary Election. The deadline to register to vote is Monday, Feb. 5, 2018.

Volunteer Deputy Registrars help citizens register to vote, promote voter registration at community events and within social networks, distribute voter registration applications and confirm they are completed correctly, issue official proof of registration receipts, and deliver applications to the Voter Registrar within five days of completion.

To volunteer, you must attend a one-hour training session, which are available on the first Tuesday or Saturday of each month.

Training opportunities at the main tax office, 5501 Airport Blvd:
Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 – 10:30 a.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017 – 10:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m.
No reservation needed.

For more information, please visit www.TravisCountyTax.org or call (512) 854-9473. Follow the tax office on Facebook for all the latest voter registration news, including training dates, www.facebook.com/TravisCountyTaxOffice.


November 20, 2017 - Elfant named 2017 Tax Assessor-Collector of the Year

ElfantAwardTravis County’s Bruce Elfant was named the 2017 Tax Assessor-Collector of the Year by the Tax Assessor-Collectors Association of Texas. The state’s 254 tax assessor-collectors recognized Elfant contributions to his county, state and nation.

“It is said his success is validated by strong leadership, community participation, compassion and the upholding of public values,” said the association’s vice president, Linda Bridge of Bee County, as she announced the winner of the Tax Assessor-Collector of the Year during a luncheon Tuesday in the San Marcos Convention Center. “He embodies the spirit of excellence in public stewardship and consistently demonstrates a deep devotion to public interest, civic duty and social justice.”

Elfant, who became Travis County’s tax assessor-collector in 2012, served on several of the association’s committees, including the one that works to further the group’s legislative agenda. “He has tirelessly represented our association during the past two legislative years…a constant presence at the capitol testifying and representing our legislative platform,” Bridge said.

The association also recognized him as an innovative leader, being the first to use the Property Assessed Clean Energy Program, which allows commercial businesses and nonprofit groups to secure low-cost, long-term financing for energy conservation projects, and for his vision at instituting an online mapping service that shows what county areas have the least registered voters. He was also lauded as being the first county to fully pilot WebDealer, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles’ online titling and registration service for auto dealers.

Prior to becoming the tax assessor-collector, Elfant worked as a Travis County constable where he was one of the driving forces behind “Veterans Court,” which allows military veterans, many suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries, to receive treatment instead of county jail time for certain offenses.

Elfant believes it is important to give back to the community where he lives. He has volunteered to serve on numerous committees, many of them dedicated to stopping family violence and helping victims of domestic abuse, including leadership roles on the Austin/Travis County Family Violence Task Force, U.S. Census Complete Count Committee and Community Action Network Community Council.

His many achievements include awards for Elected Official of the Year and the Public Innovation Award from the Central Texas Society of Professional Administrators; Constable of the Year by the Justices of the Peace and Constables Association of Texas; Best Practice Award for exceptional delivery of services by the Texas Association of Counties; Person of the Year by the Women’s Advocacy Project; the Partnership Award from the Austin Mayor’s Committee for People with Disabilities; and the Trailblazer Award from the Indian-American Coalition of Texas.

However, Elfant said being the recipient of the Tax Assessor-Collector of the Year Award is a special honor.

“In this age of political rancor and divisiveness, the state’s tax assessor-collectors, who are elected Democrats and Republicans, are a shining example of how people from different parties can work together,” Elfant said. “We can engage in healthy debate on issues that impact our offices, but we respect each other and are always unified under a singular goal to deliver exceptional customer service to the people we serve in our counties.”

Elfant’s name was placed into nomination for the award by Larry Gaddes, the Williamson County tax assessor-collector.

“I am humbled, grateful, proud and thankful to the state’s tax assessor-collectors for naming me the 2017 Tax Assessor-Collector of the Year,” Elfant said.


October 5, 2017 - Tuesday last chance for voter registration & address change before Nov. 7 bond elections

Time is running out to register to vote for the Nov. 7 election and the Travis County Tax Office is planning an all-day voter registration drive on Tuesday, Oct. 10, the voter registration deadline.

Voter registration and updating your voter registration address if you moved will be available from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Tuesday, at the two Amaya’s Taco Village locations, 9900 S. Interstate 35 frontage road in Southpark Meadows, and 5804 N. Interstate 35 frontage road. The main Travis County Tax Office will offer voter registration from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, 5501 Airport Blvd.

Voters will go to the polls on Nov. 7 to vote on several constitutional amendments and local government bond packages, which if passed will fund local projects paid for by property taxes.

“Do not think if you don’t own a home that you do not need to vote,” says Bruce Elfant, the Travis County voter registrar and tax assessor-collector. Renters also use and pay for services funded through bonds.

The bond initiatives are asking voters to decide whether the community services and physical improvements they fund are worth the cost. “While most ballots in Travis County won’t include candidates, bond elections directly impact the local government services you receive and your pocketbook,” Elfant said.

Historically, very few voters decide constitutional amendments and bond elections. “Whether you believe the proposals on the ballot should be supported or are too costly or ill-conceived, the outcomes will impact our community and state,” Elfant said. “Your voice is your vote.”


September 22, 2017 - Travis County, local groups reaching out to seniors with voter registration, voting information

NeverTooOld resizeTravis County Voter Registrar Bruce Elfant today announced a new campaign to help senior citizens with voter registration and to educate them on their voting options.

The campaign, “You’re never too old to vote!,” was launched this morning at the Seniors and Law Enforcement Safety Fair at the Conley Guerrero Senior Activity Center. “You’re never too old to vote!” is a joint project of Travis County’s tax and clerk offices, the League of Women Voters Austin Area, the American Association for People with Disabilities and Disability Rights Texas.

“All of these groups have come together for an educational initiative to reach out to older adults with information on voter registration, including changing your voter registration address when you move, voter identification, mail-in ballots, curbside voting, mobile voting locations, and polling booth assistance,” Elfant said. “We want every senior in the county to know it doesn’t matter if you are living in a house, apartment, assisted living or rehabilitation center, nursing or retirement home, or recreational vehicle, your vote counts and we will make sure you can register to vote, change your registration address and have access to a ballot.”

Most of the emphasis on voter registration across the country targets young people, especially those 18 to 21 years of age, to encourage them to establish a lifelong pattern of civic engagement. Certainly, this is an important demographic to reach for the Travis County Tax Office, Elfant said, but it is also important to recognize the county’s senior population is growing at a rapid pace.

In April, Austin’s demographer told the city’s Commission on Seniors that “what we’re witnessing is a sea change in growth...Austin is emerging as a destination for retirees.” The Texas Demographic Center reports the state is home to the third largest elderly population in the nation, preceded by California and Florida, respectively.

With so many seniors moving into the county and others downsizing and relocating within the county, Elfant said the county must actively reach out to the senior community with voter registration and voting information. “It doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or 118, you have a say in how your country, state, county and city run,” Elfant said. “We want everyone who is eligible to vote to register and vote.”

You can learn more about the “You’re never too old to vote!” campaign at www.TravisCountyTax.org/voters or pick up the brochure at the main tax office, 5501 Airport Blvd.


September 13, 2017 - Travis County launches student PSA contest to encourage voter registration, voting

Travis County middle and high school students can compete for more than $6,000 in cash and prizes in a video public service announcement contest, YouthCam Student PSA Contest 2017. The contest is designed to promote voter registration and turnout at the polls, especially among young voters.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our middle school and high school students to show off their creativity by making animated or film productions that energize people to register and vote,” said Bruce Elfant, the Travis County voter registrar and tax assessor-collector.

YouthCam Student PSA Contest is open to Travis County middle and high school students from public, charter and private schools as well as the home schooled. Qualified contestants either live in Travis County or attend middle or high school in Travis County.

Each PSA must include the “Register. Be Counted. Vote!” logo, which is available for download along with complete contest rules at www.TravisCountyTax.org/PSA. Entry deadline is 5 p.m., Nov. 6.

Individuals or teams may enter the 60-, 30- and 15-second judged categories in English and/or Spanish. All entries automatically entered into The People’s Choice, an online category where the winner is decided by popular vote.

Cash awards in the judged categories include $500 for first place; $250 for second place; and $100 for third place. Cash awards provided by the League of Women Voters Austin Area and private donors. The top vote getter in The People’s Choice will receive movie passes for a year and a $100 food gift card from Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.

Other prizes include an array of gift cards from local businesses and a laptop computer. For a complete list of prizes, visit the contest website, www.TravisCountyTax.org/PSA.

Contest partners include the Travis County Tax Office’s Voter Registration Division and the Deputy Clerk Office’s Elections Division; League of Women Voters Austin Area; Alamo Drafthouse Cinema; Precision Camera & Video; Univision Austin; Discount Electronics; Whole Earth Provision Co.; Austin Classical Guitar; Austin Chronicle; Violet Crown Theater; Capital Metro; and University Co-Op.

Send questions regarding YouthCam to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


September 7, 2017 - The flood isn’t over: Don’t let Harvey take you for a ride, use Title Check before buying a used car or truck

Travis County residents in the market for a used vehicle need to stop Harvey from taking them for a ride by using a national database before making a purchase.

According to a recent Wired.com story, the flooding from Harvey may have destroyed as many as 1 million cars and trucks, many of them on the lots of car dealerships. Those wanting to buy a used vehicle need to protect themselves from unknowingly purchasing one of these vehicles, warns Tax Assessor-Collector Bruce Elfant.

“Crooks love floods because with very little effort they can clean these vehicles up to look sharp on the outside while the engines rot on the inside and pass them off to unsuspecting car buyers,” Elfant explains. “It is so easy to avoid buying one of these destroyed vehicles by using Title Check at TxDMV.gov.”

Title Check is part of the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS), a nationwide database that will show a vehicle’s title history, including whether the vehicle was flooded, salvaged, junked or rebuilt. Federal law requires states, insurance companies, junk and salvage yards to report any findings that brand these vehicles to the database. The database contains title information on cars, trucks, motorcycles, motorhomes, buses and big rigs – virtually every titled motor vehicle in the country.

There is a small fee for using the database. Here is what you do:

  • Get the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) off the vehicle you want to buy.
  • Go to Title Check at Texas Department of Motor Vehicles website, www.TxDMV.gov.
  • Have your credit card available.
  • Select one of the private companies designated as an approved provider by the U.S. Department of Justice. Prices begin at only a few dollars.
  • Follow the steps to obtain the report.

Whether buying a vehicle from a local dealer, individual or eyeing one from an online auction website, the title history report will let you know what you are buying before you pay any money or sign any paperwork for the vehicle. Today, many dealerships use Title Check and will show customers the report upon request.

Elfant reminds would-be used car buyers that after hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, vehicles branded flooded or unrepairable by insurance companies were sold in Texas.

Unsuspecting buyers are duped by sellers who show them what looks like a clean title or make verbal promises the vehicle has a clean title. When the buyers go to title the vehicle at the county tax office, they may find the vehicle cannot be titled because it was branded inoperable or unrepairable in the national database.

Tax Office employees are required to run the vehicle’s information through the database before they can process the title paperwork. Unfortunately, because the customer failed to do a Title Check before buying the vehicle, tax office staff often find themselves having to deliver difficult news to their customers.

“If we find out a vehicle was branded so that it cannot be legally operated then we have to tell our customer it cannot be titled for road use,” Elfant says. “If the vehicle carries a brand, such as flooded or salvaged, we have to deliver the bad news the title will have this brand on it, reducing the vehicle’s value by thousands of dollars.

“People are hurt, they lose their investment or they buy a vehicle that falls apart on them just because they didn’t spend a few bucks to run the VIN through the national database before they bought the vehicle,” Elfant adds. “Now, with Hurricane Harvey flooding so many vehicles, I cannot urge you enough to please run the VIN through the Title Check database before you buy a used vehicle.”

The title history report will not tell you about vehicle repairs, accidents or maintenance. That information is available from one of the private companies that offer vehicle history reports.


September 1, 2017 - Activities planned for Voter Registration Awareness Month

RegisterBeCountedsm

Travis County Tax Office is asking the community to participate in voter registration activities in September as part of Voter Registration Awareness Month.

The month includes voter registration drives and trainings for volunteer deputy registrars. Travis County Commissioners Court unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday recognizing Voter Registration Awareness Month.

“We want to encourage everyone to register to vote, change their voter registration address if they moved within the county and join us in registering voters by becoming a volunteer deputy registrar,” said Bruce Elfant, the Travis County voter registrar and tax assessor-collector.

The last day to register to vote for the Nov. 7, 2017 election is Oct. 10. “For Travis County residents, this election will directly affect the quality of life in our county,” Elfant said. “The bond packages on the ballot impact property taxes, which also can affect rents, and the voters will decide whether the services and community improvements the bonds provide outweigh the costs associated with them.”

Each week of the month encourages groups, businesses, libraries and colleges to register voters or train as volunteer deputy registrars.

Civic Week, Sept. 1-9:

  • 10:30 a.m., Saturday, Volunteer Deputy Registrar Training, Travis County Tax Office, 5501 Airport Blvd. No reservation needed.
  • 10:30 a.m., 2:30 or 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Volunteer Deputy Registrar Training, Travis County Tax Office, 5501 Airport Blvd. No reservation needed.
  • Noon, Friday, Travis County Hall of Government, 700 Lavaca, brown bag Volunteer Deputy Registrar Training for county employees. Bring a sack lunch.

Senior Week, Sept. 10-16:

  • Launch of a new campaign, “You are never too old to vote,” to help seniors register to vote and learn about voting accessibility.
  • Look for voter registration drives at senior and assisted living centers throughout Travis County. If your senior group would like to participate, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • 10:30 a.m., Saturday, Volunteer Deputy Registrar Training, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 14311 Wells Port Drive. Online reservation required, https://goo.gl/forms/fjEEZLuGwRQLmApu2.

Local Business Week, Sept. 17-23:

  • Watch for voter registration drives at your favorite local businesses, such as P. Terry’s, Bennu Coffee and Jo’s Coffee.
  • 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, voter registration drive at Austin Public Library branches throughout the city. Main library closed for the day.

Education Week, Sept. 24-30:

  • Voter registration drives throughout the week at various college and high school campuses in Travis County.
  • Encouraging Travis County middle and high school students to enter the YouthCam – Student PSA Contest, a film competition to create 15-, 30- and 60-second public service announcements in English and/or Spanish on voter registration and voting. Details at www.TravisCountyTX.gov/PSA.

For additional info, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


August 23, 2017 - Help register Travis County's eligible voters by becoming a Volunteer Deputy Registrar

RegisterBeCountedsm

It’s time to become a Volunteer Deputy Registrar, qualifying you to register voters in Travis County for the Nov. 7, 2017 General Election. The deadline to register to vote is Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017.

Volunteer Deputy Registrars help citizens register to vote, promote voter registration at community events and within social networks, distribute voter registration applications and confirm that applications are completed correctly, issue an official receipt as proof of registration, and deliver applications to the Voter Registrar within five days of completion.

To volunteer, you must be age 18 or older and attend a one-hour training session. Trainings are held the first Tuesday and the first Saturday of each month.

Training opportunities:
Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017 – 10:30 a.m.
Saturday, Sept. 5, 2017 – 10:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m.
Travis County Tax Office, 5501 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX 78751
Registration for this event is not required.

For more information, please visit www.TravisCountyTax.org or call (512) 854-9473. Follow the tax office on Facebook for all the latest voter registration news, including training dates, www.facebook.com/TravisCountyTaxOffice.


June 13, 2017 - Help register Travis County's eligible voters by becoming a Volunteer Deputy Registrar

RegisterBeCountedsm

It’s time to become a Volunteer Deputy Registrar, qualifying you to register voters in Travis County for the Nov. 7, 2017 General Election. The deadline to register to vote is Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017.

Volunteer Deputy Registrars help citizens register to vote, promote voter registration at community events and within social networks, distribute voter registration applications and confirm that applications are completed correctly, issue an official receipt as proof of registration, and deliver applications to the Voter Registrar within five days of completion.

To volunteer, you must be age 18 or older and attend a one-hour training session. Trainings are usually held the first Tuesday of the month, but because of Independence Day training has been moved to the second Tuesday of the month.

Training opportunities:
Tuesday, July 4, 2017 – canceled
Tuesday, July 11, 2017 – 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m.
Travis County Tax Office, 5501 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX 78751
Registration for this event is not required.

For more information, please visit www.TravisCountyTax.org or call (512) 854-9473. Follow the tax office on Facebook for all the latest voter registration news, including training dates, www.facebook.com/TravisCountyTaxOffice.


May 17, 2017 - Top 10 delinquent property taxpayers announced

UPDATE: File listing top 10 delinquent property taxpayers with payment/payment plan notes (last saved 5/24/17, 2:55 p.m.)

He called. He left messages. He wrote letters. No one paid up.

Despite repeated personal attempts to reach the 2016 top delinquent taxpayers, Bruce Elfant, the Travis County tax assessor-collector, said it is time to announce the property owners who are refusing to pay.

"I take no joy in this," Elfant said. "However, I will not allow these property owners to fly under the radar and disrespect the thousands of county residents who do pay their property taxes."

These property owners received their tax bills in October 2016, failed to make payment by the Feb. 1, 2017 deadline and still haven’t paid or made a payment plan.

The worst thing a property owner can do is ignore their property tax bill. "All we ask at the tax office is if you cannot pay your tax bill in full to contact us, talk to us and work with us to set up a reasonable payment plan," Elfant said. "Why take the risk of losing your property because of unpaid taxes?"

Failure to pay property taxes can result in a lawsuit where Travis County seizes the property and auctions it off for unpaid taxes.

The county counts on property tax money to pay for services, such as law enforcement, the courthouse, emergency services, parks and road care. If the county’s projected property tax revenue falls short, programs can be cut or property taxes raised to make up the difference.

The tax office has collected 98.9 percent of the property taxes owed for the 2016 tax year and has $39 million left to collect. This is a slight increase in collections over last year.

The Top 10 Delinquent Property Owners:

Owner Address Total Due

UPDATED INFORMATION AVAILABLE
DCM UPTOWN LP

909 REINLI, MUTLIPLE UNITS $104,617.60
UPDATED INFORMATION AVAILABLE
KENNEDY ABRAHAM G MARITAL TRUST
& MARIA GONZALEZ KENNEDY
2912 S CONGRESS AVE
2914 S CONGRESS AVE
2910 S CONGRESS AVE
$88,418.21
ONION ASSOCIATES LTD 11601 S INTERSTATE HY 35
11811 S INTERSTATE HY 35
$71,563.73
LAZY T ROYALTY MANAGEMENT LTD 3821 WESTLAKE DR $66,025.03
AUSTIN MLK DEVELOPMENT INC 2115 M L KING JR BLVD $59,135.79
WALNUT HILLS TX REALTY LLC/ WALNUT HILLS
CONVALESCENT CTR
WALNUT HILLS TX REALTY LLC/ WALNUT HILLS
TX REALTY LLC
3509 ROGGE LN $48,305.46
LAKEWAY REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION 3000 S RANCH RD 620 $45,803.01
DEBBIE J OUTLAW 3405 CEDAR ST
4501 AVENUE B
4503 AVENUE B
704 E 49 ST
$44,909.66
UPDATED INFORMATION AVAILABLE
7-ELEVEN INC
7-ELEVEN INC/ SPEEDY STOP #204
7-ELEVEN INC/ SPEEDY STOP #413
7-ELEVEN INC/ SPEEDY STOP FOOD STORES
7-ELEVEN INC/ TETCO STORE #1167
7-ELEVEN INC/ 7-ELEVEN INC
3208 E STATE HY 71
1822 RUTLAND DR
9061 RESEARCH BLVD
7844 BURNET RD
717 E 7 ST
10905 E U S HY 290
$38,606.28
BUCKMAN MARION K & MI H 1110 GOBI DR
1202 KENYON DR
1107 KENYON DR
6311 EMERALD FOREST DR
6301 EMERALD FOREST DR
$36,258.14

NOTE: Property owners of commercial buildings may have tenants who are unaware of the delinquent tax bill. This list may change as owners come forward to make payments. Updated information is available.


May 11, 2017 - Help register Travis County's eligible voters by becoming a Volunteer Deputy Registrar

RegisterBeCountedsm

It’s time to become a Volunteer Deputy Registrar, qualifying you to register voters in Travis County for the Nov. 7, 2017 General Election. The deadline to register to vote is Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017.

Volunteer Deputy Registrars help citizens register to vote, promote voter registration at community events and within social networks, distribute voter registration applications and confirm that applications are completed correctly, issue an official receipt as proof of registration, and deliver applications to the Voter Registrar within five days of completion.

To volunteer, you must be age 18 or older and attend a one-hour training session. Trainings are held the first Tuesday of each month.

Training opportunities:
Tuesday, June 6, 2017 – 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m.
Travis County Tax Office, 5501 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX 78751
Registration for this event is not required.

For more information, please visit www.TravisCountyTax.org or call (512) 854-9473. Follow the tax office on Facebook for all the latest voter registration news, including training dates, www.facebook.com/TravisCountyTaxOffice.


April 18, 2017 - Help register Travis County's eligible voters by becoming a Volunteer Deputy Registrar

RegisterBeCountedsm

It’s time to become a Volunteer Deputy Registrar, qualifying you to register voters in Travis County for the November 7, 2017 General Election. The deadline to register to vote is Tuesday, October 10, 2017.

Volunteer Deputy Registrars help citizens register to vote, promote voter registration at community events and within social networks, distribute voter registration applications and confirm that applications are completed correctly, issue an official receipt as proof of registration, and deliver applications to the Voter Registrar within five days of completion.

To volunteer, you must be age 18 or older and attend a one-hour training session. Trainings are held the first Tuesday of each month.

Training opportunities:
Tuesday, May 2, 2017 – 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m.
Travis County Tax Office, 5501 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX 78751
Registration for this event is not required.

For more information, please visit www.TravisCountyTax.org or call (512) 854-9473. Follow the tax office on Facebook for all the latest voter registration news, including training dates, www.facebook.com/TravisCountyTaxOffice.


March 31, 2017 - Voter registration deadline Thursday, April 6, for May election

RegisterBeCountedsm

You must be registered or file a change of address by Thursday, April 6, to vote in the May Joint General and Special Election. If you need to check your voter registration status, polling location or sample ballot visit www.votetravis.com.

The election will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, May 6, but early voting begins April 24.

A voter registration application and additional information are available online. If mailed, the application must be postmarked no later than Thursday, April 6.

You may also register at any of the five Travis County Tax Office locations. Business hours, maps and driving directions to tax office locations available at www.TravisCountyTax.org/map.

If you moved within Travis County since the last time you voted, update your address online using the Voter Name and Address Change application.

"While only select government entities are holding an election May 6, I want to remind everyone how important it is register and then vote in local elections as decisions made locally often have the most direct impact on your lives," notes Bruce Elfant, the Travis County voter registrar.

May 6 elections include:

  • Cities: Bee Cave, West Lake Hills, Lakeway, Cedar Park and Round Rock.
  • Independent School Districts: Pflugerville and Round Rock.
  • Municipal Utility Districts: Numbers 23 & 24.
  • Travis County Emergency Services Districts: Numbers 9, 14 and 15.

March 17, 2017 - My house is worth how much? Who came up with that? Find out by booking a Travis County property tax forum

Why are your property taxes so high? How is your home’s value determined? What’s the secret to successfully protesting your property value?

If you want the answers to these and other questions about property value and taxes then you need to book the dynamic duo of Crigler and Elfant at your organization’s next meeting. Marya Crigler, the Texas Central Appraisal District chief appraiser, and Bruce Elfant, Travis County tax assessor-collector, are currently booking property tax forums with neighborhood associations, business groups and other organizations.

These forums help property owners to understand how market value appraisals are calculated and assessments are applied to tax bills. Participants also will learn how homeowners and commercial property owners can effectively challenge a property valuation.

Forums are available to any group that can guarantee at least 10 people in attendance. Before you book a forum, please make sure you are authorized to do so for your organization. Schedule your property tax forum online at http://bit.ly/PropertyTaxForum.


March 15, 2017 - Help register Travis County's eligible voters by becoming a Volunteer Deputy Registrar

RegisterBeCountedsm

It’s time to become a Volunteer Deputy Registrar, qualifying you to register voters in Travis County for the May 6, 2017 General Election. The deadline to register to vote is Thursday, April 6, 2017.

Volunteer Deputy Registrars help citizens register to vote, promote voter registration at community events and within social networks, distribute voter registration applications and confirm that applications are completed correctly, issue an official receipt as proof of registration, and deliver applications to the Voter Registrar within five days of completion.

To volunteer, you must be age 18 or older and attend a one-hour training session. Trainings are held the first Tuesday of each month.

Training opportunities:
Tuesday, April 4, 2017 – 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m.
Travis County Tax Office, 5501 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX 78751
Registration for this event is not required.

For more information, please visit www.TravisCountyTax.org or call (512) 854-9473. Follow the tax office on Facebook for all the latest voter registration news, including training dates, www.facebook.com/TravisCountyTaxOffice.


February 24, 2017 - Travis County needs to collect $83.5 million in unpaid tax bills

Travis County needs to collect $83.5 million from more than 27,000 property owners with unpaid taxes.
These owners became delinquent on their tax bill Feb. 1 and are accruing penalty and interest on their bill at a rate of seven percent. State law requires counties to assess penalty and interest on unpaid tax bills.

The Travis County Tax Office notified delinquent taxpayers their tax bill payment is overdue. Penalty and interest increases the longer the bill is unpaid. It begins at seven percent and increases each month, eventually reaching 18 percent by the sixth month of delinquency. A property owner who goes an entire year without paying their tax bill is assessed penalty and interest at 24 percent.

“If you are struggling to pay your tax bill, please let us help you,” said Bruce Elfant, the Travis County tax assessor-collector. “The law that assesses penalty and interest also allows you to set up a payment plan and we are happy to help you do that.”

Elfant said he does not want to see anyone lose their home or business because they cannot afford to pay their property tax bill all at once.

Delinquent taxpayers can avoid a costly foreclosure lawsuit by entering into a written agreement to pay their tax bill in monthly installments.

Delinquent taxpayers can apply for a payment agreement online at www.TravisCountyTax.org.


February 15, 2017 - Help register Travis County's eligible voters by becoming a Volunteer Deputy Registrar

RegisterBeCountedsm

It’s time to become a Volunteer Deputy Registrar, qualifying you to register voters in Travis County for the May 6, 2017 General Election. The deadline to register to vote is Thursday, April 6, 2017.

Volunteer Deputy Registrars help citizens register to vote, promote voter registration at community events and within social networks, distribute voter registration applications and confirm that applications are completed correctly, issue an official receipt as proof of registration, and deliver applications to the Voter Registrar within five days of completion.

To volunteer, you must be age 18 or older and attend a one-hour training session. Trainings are held the first Tuesday of each month.

Training opportunities:
Tuesday, March 7, 2017 – 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m.
Travis County Tax Office, 5501 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX 78751
Registration for this event is not required.

For more information, please visit www.TravisCountyTax.org or call (512) 854-9473. Follow the tax office on Facebook for all the latest voter registration news, including training dates, www.facebook.com/TravisCountyTaxOffice.


January 25, 2017 - TxDMV hikes vehicle registration renewal fee, offers discount for online registration renewals

The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles increased the vehicle registration renewal fee on Jan. 1, but it does include a discount for those who renew online.

Travis County residents will now pay $78.25 for the typical vehicle registration renewal, but the fee will decrease by $1 for those who renew their vehicle registration online at www.texas.gov. Previously, county residents paid $74.50 to renew in person, $75.50 to renew by mail and $77.50 to renew online.

The fee increase was opposed by many of the state’s tax assessor-collectors, including Travis County’s Bruce Elfant.

The new base registration fee for most passenger cars and trucks is $51.75, which includes a $1 charge that is distributed to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Added is a new $4.75 processing and handling fee, which covers the TxDMV’s cost for registration stickers, printing renewal notices and other services and provides financial compensation to the state’s 254 counties for processing registration renewals, which includes motor vehicle staff and postage for mailing stickers. Vehicle owners also pay their $10.25 state inspection fee at the time of renewal.

Travis County’s registration renewal fee adds a $10 road and bridge fee, which funds transportation projects, and $1.50 for child safety programs, such as health and nutrition education.

The vehicle registration renewal increase changed the amount of county compensation. Counties will receive 25 cents for every online registration renewal, down from $2.90. County compensation for walk-in customers increased from $1.90 to $2.30 per registration renewal.

“We are taking a substantial financial hit for online registration renewals, but I encourage our vehicle owners to take advantage of the $1 discount for online registration renewal,” Elfant
said. “I will always be a proponent of online services because it saves vehicle owners from having to wait in long lines in our office for something that takes only minutes to do online.”

It isn’t financially feasible for the county to provide enough facilities and staff to accommodate all vehicle owners and auto dealers in a matter of minutes in its five office locations. “I know
those of you who do business with my office want to accomplish your task in the fastest and easiest way possible and renewing your vehicle registration and paying your property taxes online is how to do it,” Elfant said. “Nothing is more disheartening to me than to look out into our lobby and see the line out the door.”

Online vehicle registration renewals are being processed by the TxDMV and questions should be directed to the agency by calling (888) 368-4689 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


January 25, 2017 - Travis County Tax Office looking for Volunteer Deputy Registrars

RegisterBeCountedsm

It’s time to become a Volunteer Deputy Registrar, qualifying you to register voters in Travis County.
The Travis County Tax Office is looking to train new volunteers and renew training for those with experience for registering voters.

The one-hour training class is being offered at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 7, at the Travis County Tax Office, 5501 Airport Blvd. Registration is not required.

Volunteer Deputy Registrars help citizens register to vote, promote voter registration at community events and within social networks, distribute voter registration applications and confirm that applications are completed correctly, issue an official receipt as proof of registration, and deliver applications to the Voter Registrar within five days of completion.

Volunteers that train in 2017 can remain active deputy registrars until Jan. 1, 2019. State law requires Volunteer Deputy Registrars to attend the one-hour training course every two years.

The deadline to register for the May 6, 2017 General Election is Thursday, April 6.

For more information, please visit www.TravisCountyTax.org or call (512) 854-9473. Follow the tax office on Facebook for all the latest voter registration news, including training dates, www.facebook.com/TravisCountyTaxOffice.


January 24, 2017 - Deadline to pay property taxes midnight Jan. 31

The deadline to pay property taxes is midnight, Tuesday, Jan. 31 and Travis County property owners are encouraged to make their payment online.

The online eCheck payment only costs $1 and you will automatically be emailed a paid receipt for your records.

Using the online process is the fastest and most secure way to pay your property taxes and ensures you will not incur any penalty or interest charges on your tax bill.

“We are all extremely busy in our everyday lives, which leads many people to procrastinate when it comes to paying their tax bill,” says Bruce Elfant, the Travis County tax assessor-collector. “And let’s face it, no one likes having to pay their tax bill but we all have to do it so why not choose the quick and easy online method?”

Elfant cautioned people to not wait until after 11 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 31 to pay. “Our processing system becomes slower to respond due to the high volume of online traffic during the last hour on deadline day,” he said.

If you pay too close to the deadline, it is possible the online system won’t be able to process your payment before midnight, making you liable for penalty and interest charges.

You also may pay your property taxes online with a credit card, which adds a three-percent charge to your total, or by using your PayPal account. You can access all the online payment methods at www.TravisCountyTax.org.

Property owners who cannot pay in full and want to set up a payment plan can review their payment options and apply online at www.TravisCountyTax.org. Owners with a senior,disabled or disabled veteran homestead exemption can sign up to pay taxes in four installments without penalty and interest charges.

If you are one of the county’s132,000 property owners who escrow through a mortgage company or lending institution, your mortgage company probably requested the bill in order to pay your taxes, but you might want to check with the mortgage company to be sure.


January 20, 2017 - Travis County scrubs voter registration roll, removes thousands of voter registrations

Travis County scrubbed its voter registration rolls this week, removing more than 35,000 voter registrations and dropping its historic voter registration percentage from more than 92 percent to 88 percent of the eligible voters in the county.

“The goal is to maintain as accurate of voter registration roll as possible,” said Bruce Elfant, the Travis County voter registrar. “I am confident that our volunteer deputy voter registrars will bring our roll back up to 90 percent or more as they actively reach out and sign up new voters in the county.”

Federal and state laws govern the process for removing voter registration records and voter database maintenance. Generally, registrants removed from the active voter roll have not updated their address nor voted in two consecutive general elections and the U.S. Postal Service returned their voter card or other correspondence as undeliverable. The people who do not respond most likely moved out of the county or state, died or moved within the county and did not register at their new address, which the law requires. Go to Defining the Integrity of Voter Registration Records for a detailed explanation of voter database maintenance.

The 2016 List of Canceled Voters is also available to view online. Eligible voters removed from the voter registration roll may still vote by completing and submitting a new voter registration application, providing they are living in Travis County and they meet the voter registration deadline for the next election. A voter registration application is available at www.traviscountytax.org.


2016 NEWS

December 21, 2016 - Don’t miss the December property tax receipt deadline

Travis County property owners wanting a December 2016 property tax receipt for federal income tax must pay their property taxes by Dec. 31, 2016.

Tax Assessor-Collector Bruce Elfant encourages taxpayers to pay their property taxes online at www.TravisCountyTax.org. “The online payment system is available 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays,” Elfant noted.

Those who pay online are immediately emailed a paid receipt, providing proof of their transaction for their records. It only costs $1 to pay online with an eCheck. Other payment options include PayPal and credit cards for a three percent fee.

Taxpayers planning to pay by mail must have their envelopes postmarked on or before Dec. 31.

Property owners have until Jan. 31, 2017, to pay their property taxes without penalty. Those that are unable to pay in full are encouraged to pay as much as possible before the Feb. 1, 2017, delinquency date and to make payment arrangements for any outstanding balance on the tax office website.

Payments are accepted in person at any of the five county tax office locations. To find your nearest tax office location go to www.TravisCountyTax.org.

All Travis County tax office locations will be closed Friday, Dec. 23; Monday, Dec. 26; and Monday, Jan. 3.


November 21, 2016 - Travis County tax bills sent to property owners, tax assessos-collector urges owners to pay online

Travis County property tax bills are in the mail and this year owners are being asked to pay their bills online at www.TravisCountyTax.org.

“When you pay online we email you a paid receipt and your tax account will reflect the payment immediately,” noted Bruce Elfant, the county tax assessor-collector. “This is the best way to ensure your property tax bill is paid in a timely manner.”

The county mailed more than 280,000 tax bills that must be paid on or before Jan. 31, 2017. Property owners are responsible for paying their taxes on time – even if for some reason they did not receive their bill. State law requires penalty and interest charges be added to late bill payments.

Property owners can pay online with an eCheck for only $1 or by credit card (there is a three percent fee). Property owners also can pay by sending a check in the mail, but Elfant cautioned that they will not automatically receive a receipt for payment, or by dropping their payment off during normal business hours at any of the tax office’s five county locations.

Property owners who cannot pay in full and want to set up a payment plan can review their payment options and apply online at www.TravisCountyTax.org. Owners with a senior, disabled or disabled veteran homestead exemption can sign up to pay taxes in four installments without penalty and interest charges.

If you have not received your tax bill and/or want to see when your tax bill payment is posted to your account, go to www.TravisCountyTax.org to search for your account.

If you are one of the county’s132,000 homeowners who escrow through a mortgage company or lending institution, your mortgage company probably requested the bill in order to pay your taxes, but you might want to check with the mortgage company to be sure.

Elfant encourages all property owners to also sign up to receive an eBill in 2017. “The beauty of eBill is no matter where you are – on vacation, out of town for work, an owner who lives out of state or country – we will directly email you your tax bill,” he said. “For those who expect their mortgage company to handle their property tax payment, you can use eBill as a way to know when the property tax bill is out and can monitor your tax bill payment on our website to make sure the mortgage company pays it before any late charges will apply.”


November 3, 2016 - Travis County voter registrations climb to 92.32 percent of eligible voters, registrants urged to check voter registration status online

AUSTIN – The results are in. Travis County’s official, record-breaking and exact count of registered voters is 732,340 and that means 92.32 percent of the county’s eligible voters can cast a ballot in the Nov. 8 President Election.

“What a great county we live in with so many of its citizens determined to fulfill their responsibility to register and vote,” said Bruce Elfant, the county’s voter registrar and tax assessor-collector. “We are the star of Texas and one of the best in the nation for exercising our patriotic duty to our country and state by actively participating in democracy.”

Early voting closes Friday and more than 300,000 Travis County residents have already voted. The Presidential Election is Tuesday.

Before heading out to the polls, Elfant recommends everyone use the Voter Lookup on www.votetravis.com to check their registration status.

“Make sure everything looks OK in the system before you go to vote,” he said. “This is especially important for those who mailed their registrations in late.”

State law does not allow those who sent in voter applications postmarked after Oct. 11 to vote in this Presidential Election. “What worries us is some folks may have dropped off their voter registrations late on Oct. 11 and failed to note that the U.S. Post Office would postmark them the following day,” Elfant said. “And, of course, there were others who clearly didn’t even fill their voter applications out until Oct. 12 or later.”

Every person who properly filled out a voter application will become a registered voter, but may have missed the deadline to be eligible to vote in the current Presidential Election.

Those who did register to vote on time may not receive their voter registration cards before they head out to vote. That DOES NOT mean you cannot vote and is another reason to look up your registration status at www.votetravis.com. When you put your name and birth date into the Voter Lookup it will give you your registration status, a sample of the ballot that you will be using (includes your local races and propositions) and a list of polling places near your home and the estimated wait times at those polling locations. If any information on your voter status is incorrect, such as your name is misspelled, immediately call the Travis County Tax Office at (512) 854-9473 to have it fixed.

Elfant’s office also worked with the Travis County Clerk’s Election Division to create an interactive map of polling locations, featuring Green, Yellow and Red stoplights that indicate wait times at early voting locations. Simply click on a stoplight to find out the polling location name, address and wait times. The interactive map is available on the county clerk’s website, http://bit.ly/traviscountyvoter.

Information on candidates and propositions in English and Spanish is available from the nonprofit and nonpartisan League of Women Voters of the Austin Area, http://lwvaustin.org/voters-guide-now-available-2/.


October 3, 2016 - Students in 91 schools to pick U.S. President Tuesday in Travis County Mock Presidential Election

FirstVote

Students from 91 Travis County elementary, middle and high schools will pick the President of the United States on Tuesday during a Mock Presidential Election with election results airing from 5 to 7 p.m. on Austin Independent School District’s cable Channel 22.

The election, open to public, private and charter schools, is sponsored by the Travis County Tax Office’s Voter Registration Division, the Travis County Clerk’s Elections Division, the Austin-area League of Women Voters and the University of Texas’ Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life.

Participating schools registered students and provided them with voter registration cards. Due to Voter ID, students were instructed to bring their voter registration card to the polls to vote. After they vote, students will receive an “I Voted” sticker.

Some students were selected to become members of the Electoral College or student reporters covering the story.

“It will be interesting to see who the students elect for President and then who the county’s eligible voters decide on in the real Presidential Election on Nov. 8,” said Travis County Voter Registrar Bruce Elfant. “Will the student election be a barometer for who will be the next President of the United States?”

The Mock Presidential Election is part of the tax office’s First Vote! educational initiative, which includes the county clerk’s office and Austin’s League of Women Voters. Questions may be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..“Working together we can excite students about the civic process and energize them to look forward to the day they can really vote,” Elfant said.


September 2, 2016 - Students to pick U.S. President Tuesday, Oct. 4 in Travis County Mock Presidential Election

FirstVote

Elementary, middle and high school students in Travis County will soon have the opportunity to pick the next President of the United States.

Tuesday, Oct. 4, a countywide mock Presidential Election will take place at participating schools. The election is open to public, private and charter schools and is being supported by the Travis County Tax Office’s Voter Registration Division, the Travis County Clerk’s Elections Division, the Austin-area League of Women Voters and the University of Texas’ Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life.

Before the election, students will register to be voters, receive faux voter registration cards, become members of the Electoral College, be reporters covering the story, receive “I Voted” stickers and more. Due to Voter ID, students will be instructed they must bring their voter registration card to the polls to vote.

“Working together we can excite students about the civic process and energize them to look forward to the day they can really vote,” said Travis County Voter Registrar Bruce Elfant. “It will be interesting to see who the students elect for President and then who the county’s eligible voters decide on in the real Presidential Election on Nov. 8.

“Will the student election be a barometer for who will be the next President of the United States?,” Elfant continued.

Travis County will collect the results from all schools participating in the Mock Presidential Election. Each participating school will submit their results to AISD’s Central Counting Center, which will be operated by the school district, the Annette Strauss Institute and the tax office’s Voter Registration Division. Results will be broadcast on AISD’s community access cable Channel 22.

Schools wanting to participate in the mock election must sign up on the Travis County Tax Office website at https://tax-office.traviscountytx.gov/firstvote/mock-presidential-election before Sept. 27. The Mock Presidential Election Curriculum Booklet is available for download.  

“We have designed activities throughout the month of September for students to prepare for the Mock Presidential Election so the sooner a school signs up the more activities there will be for students,” Elfant noted.

The Mock Presidential Election is part of the tax office’s First Vote! educational initiative, which includes the county clerk’s office and Austin’s League of Women Voters. Questions may be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


September 1, 2016 - Travis County plans to break voter registration record, asking community to register voters in September

RegisterBeCountedsm

Travis County is about to reach an all-time high for voter registration and is asking the community to help meet its target by participating in voter registration activities in September as part of Voter Registration Month.

The county needs to register some 15,000 voters in September to reach its yearlong goal of registering 90 percent of the county’s eligible voters, a record. Currently, the county has almost 700,000 registered voters but needs to reach 715,495 to meet its goal.

Bruce Elfant, the Travis County voter registrar and tax assessor-collector, began the Great Travis County Voter Registration Challenge last September and at the time needed to add 100,000 people to the county’s voter registration roll. “With our current success and the community’s help this September, it is possible we can register more than 90 percent of the county’s eligible voters,” Elfant said.

Elfant is hoping that a record number of voter registrations will lead to a record-breaking voter turnout for the Nov. 8 Presidential Election. Texas is a dismal 49th in voter turnout among the nation’s 50 states.
“Texas prides itself in being bigger at everything, but it is small when it comes to casting ballots to elect our leaders and deciding about ballot initiatives, such as bonds that tax homeowners and changes in laws,” Elfant said.

Elfant is asking businesses, schools, houses of worship and nonprofits to actively participate in Voter Registration Month. The tax office also is offering to train groups of 10 or more to become Volunteer Deputy Registrars, the state qualification needed to register voters. So far this election cycle, Elfant and the tax office’s Voter Registration Division have trained more than 3,000 Volunteer Deputy Registrars.

“We are also asking clergy and worship leaders, heads of nonprofit organizations, teachers and professors, business leaders, and others to speak out about the importance and responsibility of every citizen to register and vote,” Elfant said.
Each week in September is designated for a particular group to register voters.

  • Sept. 4-10, Community Week: Voter registration outreach by nonprofits, community centers and senior housing, and personal outreach among families, friends and neighbors.
  • Sept. 11-17, Houses of Worship Week: Voter registration drives at churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and meeting houses before and after services and pastors, imams, rabbis and worship leaders deliver messages of civic responsibility to register and vote.
  • Sept. 18-24, Civic Week: Voter registration drives at corporations, small businesses, food banks, public and private libraries, shelters and government offices.
  • Sept. 25-30, Education Week: Voter registration drives and teacher presentations on responsibility to register and vote at public and private universities, colleges, vocational and trade schools, and high schools.

Any group needing assistance for a voter registration drive can email the tax office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Voter registration is nonpartisan. You do not declare a political party when you register in Texas and no one registering voters is permitted to ask your political affiliation. Oct. 11 is the voter registration cutoff for the Presidential Election.


July 18, 2016 - Travis County collects more than 99 percent, $3 billion in tax payments from property owners

Travis County has collected more than 99 percent of property taxes due for the 2015 year, bringing in more than $3 billion in revenue.

"I want to thank the property owners of Travis County because even those struggling under the weight of high property valuations remain committed to paying their fair share in taxes for the good of everyone who lives here," said Tax Assessor-Collector Bruce Elfant. "As a result, we have a high property tax collection rate."

This is the fastest the tax office has reached the 99 percent collection rate for a previous year’s taxes. The county collects taxes for 112 government entities, which include school districts and cities.

Not everyone pays on time. In May, Elfant disclosed the Top 10 delinquent property tax payers. He emphasized that these taxpayers failed to contact his office despite numerous attempts to reach them through letters and telephone calls.

"Delinquent property owners hurt all of us," Elfant said. "It isn’t fair to you or me if we are paying our taxes and others are not." Taxpayers struggling to pay their property taxes can work with the tax office to set up a payment plan.

Only two of the Top 10 delinquent taxpayers have not paid or made payment arrangements. Those two, Aqua Land Lakeway Medical Development, which owes more than $40,000, and Mollenberg Properties LLC, which owes more than $30,000, are being sued by Travis County for payment. Failure to pay results in litigation that can lead to seizure or foreclosure, which allows the county to auction off the property.

"We try to do everything we can to avoid having to take someone’s home or commercial property, but when they don’t respond to repeated requests to try to work it out with our office we have no choice but to pursue litigation," Elfant explained.

Unlike most of the state’s 254 counties, Travis County does not outsource its delinquent property tax collection to private business. "Outsourcing delinquent collections can look good on paper because you don’t need as many staff but these companies command high prices for their work, which is passed on to the taxpayer," Elfant said. "Our in-house collection staff does an amazing job that allows us to help struggling homeowners and businesses without adding on additional penalty fees to pay for lawyers to do delinquent collections."

The county counts on property tax money to pay for services, such as law enforcement, emergency services, parks and road care. If the county’s projected property tax revenue falls short, programs are either cut or property taxes raised to make up the difference.

Travis County will begin collecting 2016 property taxes this fall, which are due by Jan. 31, 2017.


July 11, 2016 - Tax Office grapples with state’s single sticker program, rejects about a third of vehicle registration renewals

It is the second year of Texas’ single sticker program and the Travis County Tax Office is rejecting about a third of vehicle registration renewals, mostly due to people obtaining their inspection at the wrong time.

"Not only has single sticker increased the lines at our tax office locations but we are also facing many angry customers because they inspected their vehicles at the wrong time," said Tax Assessor-Collector Bruce Elfant.

This is the year when vehicle owners are to "sync" the expiration date of their of vehicle inspection to their registration sticker. Unfortunately, customers continue to be confused about how that happens. As a result, the tax office is rejecting about a third of the more than 18,000 vehicle registration renewals it receives each month.

In 2015, the first year of single sticker, the tax office rejected more than 221,000 vehicle registration renewals and it is on pace to do the same this year. Postage alone to return rejected mail-in registrations is costing Travis County taxpayers more than $30,000 annually.

Many people did not understand they were not to inspect their vehicle until it was time to renew their 2016 registration sticker. "What happened is some inspection stations allowed these people to renew their inspections based on the vehicle owner’s inspection sticker date instead of informing customers they did not need an inspection until the registration sticker was about to expire," Elfant said. "Now their registration sticker is about to expire and they are finding themselves forced to get another inspection – paying for two inspections in less than a year."

Inspection stations are under the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). Elfant suggests vehicle owners return to the station that inspected their vehicle to request another inspection free of charge. If the station refuses, report the station that inspected the vehicle too early to DPS.

More confusion also surrounds the 90-day window in which vehicle owners have to renew. "The public clearly does not understand the 90-day window, which means you can inspect your vehicle up to 90 days before your registration sticker expires but no sooner than that," Elfant said.

Travis County residents either are miscounting the 90 days or some think they need inspection before the 90 days kicks in. Tax office employees are confronted with customers that inspected their vehicles too early, some by only one day. "It is really a difficult situation," Elfant said.

The best thing vehicle owners can do is forget the 90-day window, Elfant added. Instead, make it simple.

"When you receive your registration renewal notice in the mail know that is the time to inspect your vehicle – not before that," Elfant said.

To be safe, Elfant encourages everyone to sign up for the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles’ email reminder for registration renewal at

"This way even if your renewal notice is lost in the mail or you moved and forgot to notify the TxDMV of your new address, you will be sure to receive a reminder that your registration is due, and again, remember that as soon as you see your renewal notice you should take your car or truck in for inspection," Elfant said.


June 21, 2016 - Help register Travis County's eligible voters by becoming a Volunteer Deputy Registrar

RegisterBeCountedsm

Volunteer Deputy Registrars help citizens register to vote, promote voter registration at community events and within social networks, distribute voter registration applications and confirm that applications are completed correctly, issue an official receipt as proof of registration, and deliver applications to the Voter Registrar within five days of completion.

Becoming a deputy registrar allows you to help the tax office register 90 percent of the county’s eligible voters by the 2016 Presidential Election. Currently, the tax office needs to register approximately 36,500 county residents to reach that goal.

Training opportunities:

Tuesday, July 5, 2016 – 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. Travis County Tax Office, 5501 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX 78751. Registration for this event is not required.

Saturday, July 9, 2016 – 10 a.m. First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, 4700 Grover Ave., Austin, TX 78756. Registration for this event is requested at https://goo.gl/R1MYmQ

For more information, please visit www.TravisCountyTax.org or call (512) 854-9473. Follow the tax office on Facebook for all the latest voter registration news, including training dates, www.facebook.com/TravisCountyTaxOffice.


May 3, 2016 - Top 10 delinquent taxpayers announced

The top 10 delinquent property taxpayers were announced today by Bruce Elfant, the Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector, before the monthly auction of foreclosed properties at the downtown Heman Sweatt Courthouse.

While the tax office has collected 98.64 percent of the property taxes owed for the county’s 111 government entities, including school districts and cities, for the 2015 tax year, it has 18,146 property owners who collectively owe over $36 million.

"Tax office employees, including myself, telephoned delinquent property owners, hoping to collect the payment in full but willing to work out a payment plan for those struggling to pay," Elfant said. "The tax office sent letters, asking the property owners to please get in touch with us."

These property owners received their tax bills in November 2015 and failed to make payment by the Feb. 1, 2016 deadline. The worst thing a property owner can do is ignore making a payment. "It is important to note that all we ask at the tax office is if you cannot pay your tax bill in full to contact us, talk to us and work with us," Elfant said.

The Top 10:

COLTON BLUFF LLC 7321 COLTON-BLUFF SPRG
6917 COLTON-BLUFF SPRG RD
$54,849.30
LH HARMON AUSTIN LLC 4719 HARMON AVE $54,093.69
SOLARBRIDGE TECHNOLOGIES INC 9229 WATERFORD CENTRE BLVD $46,605.44
AQUA LAND LAKEWAY MEDICAL DEVELOPM 3000 S RANCH RD 620 $40,308.54
PB AUSTIN RIDGE LLC & 8509 F M RD 969 $38,040.65
BLG SPM 3B 3C LLC 0000 SOUTHPARK MEADOWS DR $38,020.92
REALTEX COMMERCIAL LLC 0000 S CAPITAL OF TX HY $34,354.71
KILLIAN CUSTOM HOMES LLC 7407 LENAPE TRL
7405 LENAPE TRL
$33,513.56
CORD SHIFLET 65 PASCAL LN $31,161.12
MOELLENBERG PROPERTIES LLC 5800 WESTMONT DR
1140 DON ANNST
2015 PAYNE AVE
14707 LONG BRANCH DR
0000 RAIN WATER DR
0000 RAIN WATER DR
2105 WHITE DOVE PASS
$30,633.48

Property owners that fail to pay their taxes or make a payment plan can expect to be sued by the Travis County Attorney and their properties will be sold on the auction block. Elfant said the county does not foreclose on properties or publicly shame property owners to hurt them. "These delinquent property owners hurt all of us," he said. "It isn’t fair to you or me if we are paying our taxes and others are not."

The county counts on property tax money to pay for services, such as law enforcement, the courthouse, emergency services, parks and road care. If the county’s projected property tax revenue falls short programs are either cut or property taxes raised to make up the difference.


April 29, 2016 - Elfant to name Top 10 delinquent property taxpayers

What: Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector Bruce Elfant will give an update on property tax collection, naming the Top 10 Delinquent Property Taxpayers.

When: 9:30 a.m., Tuesday, May 3

Where: West steps of the Heman Sweatt Courthouse, 1000 Guadalupe St., Austin


April 21, 2016 - Voter registration deadline Monday, April 25, for primary runoff elections

RegisterBeCountedsm

Attention potential voters: You must register or file a change of address no later than Monday, April 25 to vote in the upcoming Primary Runoff Elections. If you are unsure of your voter registration status, check it online at www.votetravis.com.

The election is scheduled from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday, May 24, but early voting begins May 16.

A voter registration application and additional information are available online. If mailed, the application must be postmarked no later than April 25, 2016.

You may also register at any of the five Travis County Tax Office locations. Business hours, maps and driving directions to tax office locations available at www.TravisCountyTax.org.

If you moved within Travis County since the last time you voted, you can update your address online using the Voter Name and Address Change application provided by the Texas Secretary of State.


April 20, 2016 - Help register Travis County's eligible voters by becoming a Volunteer Deputy Registrar

RegisterBeCountedsm

Volunteer Deputy Registrars help citizens register to vote, promote voter registration at community events and within social networks, distribute voter registration applications and confirm that applications are completed correctly, issue an official receipt as proof of registration, and deliver applications to the Voter Registrar within five days of completion.

Becoming a deputy registrar allows you to help the tax office register 90 percent of the county’s eligible voters by the 2016 Presidential Election. Currently, the tax office needs to register approximately 36,500 county residents to reach that goal.

Training opportunities:

Tuesday, May 3, 2016 – 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. Travis County Tax Office, 5501 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX 78751. Registration for this event is not required.

Saturday, May 14, 2016 – 10 a.m. First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, 4700 Grover Ave., Austin, TX 78756. Registration for this event is requested at https://goo.gl/R1MYmQ

For more information, please visit www.TravisCountyTax.org or call (512) 854-9473. Follow the tax office on Facebook for all the latest voter registration news, including training dates, www.facebook.com/TravisCountyTaxOffice.


April 8, 2016 - Elfant thanks TxDMV Board for listening to concerns about adverse impact agency plan will have on taxpayers

Bruce Elfant, the Travis County tax assessor-collector, said Friday he is hopeful Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Board members will consider changes to an agency-proposed plan that, if passed by the board, would cost Travis County taxpayers more than $4 million.

“I testified before the TxDMV Board on Thursday, and I want to express my appreciation to the board members and Chair Laura Ryan, who listened intently, asked good questions and appeared genuinely interested in how the agency plan would adversely impact taxpayers and small businesses,” Elfant said.

Other tax assessor-collectors also testified and Cathy Talcott, the Comal County tax assessor-collector who sits on the board of the state’s Tax Assessor-Collectors Association, testified the group has serious concerns about the TxDMV plan. The association is comprised of the state’s 254 tax assessor-collectors.

The plan’s biggest impact is on the state’s larger counties, and Elfant praised the Tax Assessor-Collectors Association Board for its support and TxDMV Board Member Luanne Caraway, the Hays County tax assessor-collector, who voted against moving the plan forward.

Elfant also was pleased to hear TxDMV board members say the plan’s intention is not to close down local title service businesses that provide vehicle registration and titling services.

“It was a relief to hear board members say the plan, which sets to regulate what these private businesses can charge for providing these services, is not intended to target these locally-owned, small businesses for closure by setting such a low cap on what they can charge it would drive them out of business,” Elfant said. “There also seems to be an ongoing question about whether it is legal for a state agency to interfere with private business that way.”

The TxDMV Board voted 7 to 1 to move the plan to the next step, which will allow the public to comment. Key measures include raising the vehicle registration fee by $4 for those who come in person to the tax office or mail in their renewals; reducing the county’s compensation from $2.90 to 25 cents for online renewals; and capping title services charges.

The plan is expected to be posted for public comment later this month. You may view the TxDMV plan at http://www.txdmv.gov/about-us/txdmv-board-meetings. Click the “Amended Presentation” button under the April 7, 2016 TxDMV Board posting. The TxDMV also will post a video of the board meeting in the same website location. If you want to weigh in now you may do so by emailing your comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., please put “TxDMV Plan” in your subject line, or you may pick up a comment sheet at the main tax office, 5501 Airport Blvd.

“We’re not against changes in the way we do business,” Elfant said. “But I and many of my fellow tax assessor-collectors will always speak up when even a well-intentioned plan is going to hurt our taxpayers and small businesses.”


April 5, 2016 - New TxDMV plan raises vehicle registration fee, costs Travis County taxpayers millions

Travis County and taxpayers stand to lose millions of dollars under a proposed plan by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, which would raise fees, cut compensation and close small businesses.

“This plan amounts to a TxDMV property tax on Travis County residents and other medium and large counties across the state that will lose revenue,” said Tax Assessor-Collector Bruce Elfant. “Today, the Travis County Commissioners Court approved sending a letter to the TxDMV Board strongly voicing their opposition to this plan, which will hurt every registered vehicle owner in the county.”

The TxDMV Board plans to take up the matter at 8 a.m., Thursday, at the TxDMV headquarters, 4000 Jackson Ave. Elfant is urging anyone who can to attend the meeting. Travis County estimates it will cost taxpayers more than $4.2 million each year in lost revenue and taxpayer fee hikes.

“If the board passes these proposals your registration fee goes up $3 to $4 if you pay in person or by mail,” Eflant said.

Online registration renewals will be processed by a third-party company the state plans to hire. Currently, Travis County processes online vehicle registration renewals the next business day, which means most taxpayers receive their sticker in the mail within five days of renewal. Under the state plan, it is unknown how fast a vendor will process online renewals for 254 counties.

“The TxDMV plans to cut our compensation for these online renewals from $2.90 to 25 cents without detailing how it plans to maintain the level of customer service excellence that our residents have come to expect,” Elfant said.

Commissioners expressed concern at their meeting Tuesday about the impact fee hikes and loss revenue places on taxpayers and interferes with small business owners.

Travis County allows private title service companies to serve customers. These small, local businesses charge a fee for their services based on what the market will bear. Under the TxDMV proposal, these small businesses have to cap their service charge so low they told Elfant they will have to close their doors and let their employees go, increasing the traffic to the tax office.

If the private title companies close, the tax office estimates it will need an additional 17 full-time employees to serve customers that ordinarily did their titles and registrations at these private businesses.

If the title companies close, the total costs to Travis County taxpayers, including the additional 17 staff members, will be at least $4.2 million annually.

“The TxDMV plan hurts our local taxpayers,” Elfant said. “It shifts a burden from the state onto county taxpayers, costing our vehicle owners more money and the county lost revenue.”


March 30, 2016 - High School students invited to enter video contest to promote voter registration, voting

Travis County high school students can compete for cash and prizes in a video public service announcement contest designed to promote voter registration and turnout at the polls, especially among young voters.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our high school students to show off their creativity by making an animated or film production that energizes people to register and vote,” said Bruce Elfant, the Travis County voter registrar and tax assessor-collector. “I can’t wait to see what they come up with and I’m sure students will be rooting – and voting - for their classmates to bring bragging rights to their school.”

YouthCam – Student PSA Contest is open to Travis County high school students from public, charter and private schools as well as home schoolers. Individuals or teams may enter either the English or Spanish contest in the following judged categories:

  • 60-second video
  • 30-second video
  • 15-second video

Students may enter once in each category. Broadcast professionals at KVUE-TV and Univision will head the judging teams.

Any submission in the judged categories can also be entered into “The People’s Choice,” a category that will be decided by popular vote.

First-place winners in the judged categories will receive $300, a year’s membership to the Austin Film Society and a Lockout Austin escape room experience for up to 10 people. Second- and third-place winners will receive $100 each.

Only first prize will be awarded to the top vote-getter in The People’s Choice category. The prize is a private movie theater experience for the winner, who can fill up the seats of an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema room with family and friends.

The contest is open from now until midnight, Aug. 21. An awards celebration for the winners is planned for 12:30 p.m., Sept. 10 at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema on South Lamar, where the winning entries will be shown on the big screen. Winners will be notified in advance.

YouthCam – Student PSA Contest is a collaboration of the Travis County Tax Office – Voter Registration Division; Travis County Clerk Office – Elections Division; League of Women Voters of the Austin Area; Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas; Austin Film Society; Lockout Austin; Univision; and KVUE-TV.

For official contest rules and information go to www.TravisCountyTax.org. If your business or group would like to donate to the student prize packages, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


March 28, 2016 - Travis County Tax Office branch hours changing April 4

The Travis County Tax Office branches will serve the public from 8.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, beginning April 4.

The shorter hours of public operation are necessary so staff can complete their paperwork within their eight-hour shift. The shortened hours for the public will help save taxpayers from having to pay staff overtime to complete the day’s transactions.

The county’s population growth is outpacing the space and staffing at the tax office’s four branch offices. The main tax office, 5501 Airport Blvd, will continue to serve customers from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The new 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. public hours of operation take effect on April 4 at the following branch office locations:

  • East Austin – 4705 Heflin Lane.
  • Southeast Austin – 4011 McKinney Falls Parkway.
  • Southwest Austin – 8656 Hwy 71 W, Building B.
  • Pflugerville – 15822 Foothill Farms Loop.

Public comments about the hours change may be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


March 15, 2016 - Voter Registrar Bruce Elfant issues statement on ‘motor-voter’ law compliance lawsuit

Statement from Bruce Elfant, Travis County voter registrar and online voter registration advocate:

“The Statesman article “Texas sued over ‘motor voter’ law” exposes a very real problem with attempting to register to vote when renewing Texas driver’s licenses online and it can easily be resolved by joining the more than 30 states that currently offer online voter registration.

“It is confusing to citizens who go to the Texas Department of Public Safety website and click on their desire to register to vote or update their voting address because they assume they have completed the voter registration process. They think their voter registration is automatic and it is not. They still have to print and mail in a voter registration form in order to register to vote.

“Most Texans, especially digital natives, find it hard to believe that a state a big as Texas does not offer online voter registration. The state allows citizens to conduct a wide variety of online transactions, from renewing your driver’s license to property tax payments to checking on your right to work through the federal eVerify system.

“Online Voter Registration is proven to be more secure, accurate, and far less expensive than our current outdated paper-based process. I could show you many voter registration applications where it is almost impossible to decipher the person’s handwriting. Our Legislature could easily resolve this lawsuit, save taxpayer dollars and make voter registration more accessible, accurate and secure by approving online voter registration for Texans.”
___
For more information and stats on online voter registration, go to:
http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/issue-briefs/2015/05/online-voter-registration
Austin American-Statesman article by Chuck Lindell: http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/texas-sued-over-motor-voter-law-compliance/nqkfY/


March 3, 2016 - First Vote! New High School program promotes teen voter registration & voting

FirstVote

A new voter education program for public and private high schools is available through the Travis County Tax Office.

First Vote!, an educational program on voter registration and voting for high school juniors and seniors, is a joint effort of the Austin-area League of Women Voters, a non-profit, non-partisan organization,
Travis County Clerk Office, the office responsible for election logistics and voting, and the tax office, which does voter registration. 

The 30-minute program covers voter registration, voting and where to find non-partisan information on candidates and issues. Students 18 and older are eligible to register and vote.

“We offer this free program to help register students, explain what will happen the first time they vote and to excite them about participating and becoming decision makers in our democracy,” said Bruce Elfant, Travis County tax assessor-collector and voter registrar. “It is critical that we reach students early so engagement in the civic process becomes a lifelong practice.”

Program presenters say First Vote! works best when in an assembly of a school’s junior and senior students. The First Vote! team includes Cheryl Reese, the tax office voter registration outreach coordinator; Davia Prosser, elections management coordinator for the clerk’s office; and June Conway and Jacklyn Williams of the Austin-area League of Women Voters.

The following dates are currently available for booking the First Vote! team:

MarchMarchAprilAprilMayMay
8th 22nd 12th 26th 10th 24th
9th 23rd 13th 27th 11th 25th
10th 24th 14th 28th 12th 26th

Send an email with your preferred date to Cheryl Reese, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If you have questions or need additional information, contact Jacklyn Williams from the Austin-area League of Women Voters, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


February 29, 2016 - Starting March 1 Travis County vehicle owners must “Inspect to Register” to renew vehicle registration

Travis County is stepping up to assist customers during the second year of the “Two Steps, One Sticker” program for vehicle inspection and registration.

The transition year ends March1. Now Travis County vehicle owners will use their registration sticker date for both their inspection and registration. Here is what you need to remember: Take a look at the date on your vehicle registration sticker and Inspect to Register.

Step 1: Pass a vehicle inspection no earlier than 90 days prior to your registration expiration and retain your vehicle inspection report. For example, if your registration sticker expires in August 2016, you can pass your inspection as early as June 3 which is 90 days before your sticker expires on August 31, 2016.

To find your nearest inspection station in Travis County, visit the Texas Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) website.

Step 2: After your vehicle passes inspection, renew your registration online where your inspection status will be verified electronically.

Remember that your vehicle inspection and registration will expire on the last day of the month that’s indicated on your sticker. Your inspection date is determined by the blue, registration sticker expiration date. For instance if your inspection expires in March but your registration does not expire until August the earliest you can renew your inspection is within that 90-day window from your August registration sticker expiration.

Your vehicle registration renewal notice is the easiest way to remember when to inspect your vehicle. As soon as you receive the registration renewal notice in the mail you should head out to have your vehicle inspected. Once inspected you can renew your registration online at www.Texas.gov.

“When you inspect to register, you will have a smooth registration renewal process,” said Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector Bruce Elfant. “Be sure to pass inspection no earlier than 90-days before your sticker expires or use your registration renewal notice as your guide to when it is time to do your inspection.”

For more information, visit www.TravisCountyTax.org.


February 24, 2016 - Jewish temple receives Texas' first PACE loan to improve energy efficiency, realize savings

PACEsmall

What’s a temple to do?

Austin’s Congregation Beth Israel was spending $15,000 annually for repairs on a couple of dated boilers and chillers in its educational wing. Skyrocketing energy bills made temple officials realize how much they also needed more insulation for the wall of windows in its auditorium. Price for upgrades: $450,000.

On Wednesday, Travis County commissioners Gerald Daugherty and Brigid Shea along with county Tax Assessor-Collector Bruce Elfant announced in a news conference that Congregation Beth Israel will receive what they need as Texas’ first PACE recipient.

PACE, which stands for Property Assessed Clean Energy, is an innovative financing program –completely free of government mandates and public funding – that enables non-profit, commercial, industrial, multi-family, and agricultural property owners to obtain up to 100 percent of the project financing from low-cost, long-term loans for water conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy projects. Repayments of the loans pass through the county tax office to the lenders.

Austin's Petros PACE Finance, LLC, gave Congregation Beth Israel 100 percent of the financing it needed. Petros is one of the first specialty finance firms in the nation dedicated to the commercial PACE market, previously providing financing for PACE projects in Michigan.

“Closing the first PACE project in our home state is especially significant for us,” said Mansoor Ghori,CEO of Petros PACE Finance, LLC. “We enjoyed working with the team at Congregation Beth Israel and are proud they were the first of many here in Travis County."

The Way Companies developed the temple project and will replace two air-cooled chilled water machines and two heating water boilers, apply window films and extend the building automation and control system to the new equipment. The improvement will reduce the temple’s operating and utility costs in its educational wing.

In 2013, the Texas Legislature passed the program, which allows local governments to approve its use. The Travis County Commissioners Court became the first government entity in the state to embrace the program in March 2015.

“It is a credit to the Texas Legislature and the Travis County Commissioners Court that our county is the first in Texas to offer an affordable way for business property owners to reduce their environmental impact and upgrade their properties,” Elfant said. “It is economically beneficial for business and good for the environment, and today it is exciting to publicly announce that Congregation Beth Israel is the first in Texas to take advantage of this program.”

Instead of shelling out $15,000 a year or more to fix a substandard heating and cooling system, Congregation Beth Israel expects its new upgrades to save $35,000 annually in energy costs.

Rabbi Steven Folberg, the temple’s spiritual leader, recalled a well-known Jewish quote from the Babylonian Talmud that says: You’re not required to complete the work, but neither are you free to abstain from it.

“While no single individual, organization or community can complete the task of Tikkun Olam, mending and transforming the world, we all must take responsibility and play our part,” Folberg said during the news conference. “Reducing our congregation’s carbon footprint and living with lightened impact on God’s earth through the vision and ingenuity of the PACE program not only makes economic sense, but also represents a sacred act of both responsibility and hope in the future.”

Charlene Heydinger, executive director of Keeping PACE in Texas, a non-profit business association that led the PACE legislative effort and created the Texas PACE program model, called "PACE in Box," said many people focus on the program's value for multi-million-dollar projects for big business.

“It certainly helps large-scale commercial and industrial property owners with delayed maintenance issues, but it also applies to non-profits, from houses of worship and historical buildings to large, private hospitals and universities that may need to retrofit their facilities for energy and water efficiency,” she said.

Travis County commissioners Gerald Daugherty and Brigid Shea noted it isn’t every day you see a program that unites the business community and environmentalists. Daugherty, a business owner who advocates for more roads to reduce congestion, and Shea, a well-known environmental activist, were the unlikely duo that promoted passage of the PACE program to their fellow commissioners.

“I’m proud to have sponsored a program that promotes economic development and protects the needs
of the environmental community, which are both so important to Travis County,” said Daugherty. “Travis County’s leadership on PACE is proving how to be better stewards of our water, energy and economy,” added Shea.

Loans acquired through PACE also have a unique characteristic: Should an owner sell the property, the PACE loan is assumed by the buyer. Under conventional lending methods, the property owner is usually required to pay off the loan upon sale of the property.

It begins with the Texas PACE Authority, a non-profit organization that helps guide would-be borrowers through the process. Currently, more than $20 million in loans are in the Travis County PACE pipeline, which includes $1.25 million in retrofits that Simon Properties is securing for energy upgrades to Barton Creek Mall.

But on Wednesday it was all about Congregation Beth Israel being etched in state history as the very first PACE project in Texas.

It was a particularly proud moment for Elfant.

“As the only Jewish tax assessor-collector it gives me great pleasure to announce the first loan under this innovative financing program is going to the synagogue where I’ve been known to show up in the pew every now and then,” he said with a smile.

To learn more about the PACE program, a list of interested lenders and contractors and whether your business may qualify, go to www.texaspaceauthority.org.


January 27, 2016 - Monday, Feb. 1 deadline to pay property taxes, register to vote Feb. 1 deadline to pay property taxes, register to vote

The Travis County Tax Office is staying open from 5:30 p.m. until midnight, Monday, Feb. 1, to allow customers to drop off their property tax payment and register to vote.

The extended hours are only at the main Travis County Tax Office, 5501 Airport Blvd., under the blue awning marked “South.” Customers can pull up to the front door where Tax Assessor-Collector Bruce Elfant will gladly take your property tax payment or completed voter registration application. If you still need to register to vote, staff will gladly provide you with a form to fill out.

“Midnight, Feb. 1, is an important date because it is the deadline for both property tax payment and voter registration for the March 1 Texas primary,” Elfant said. “Miss the midnight deadline and you’ll immediately begin accruing penalty and interest charges on your property taxes or be ineligible to vote in the primary election to select the presidential and local candidates for office.”

Taxpayers who want to “Skip the Trip” can pay online at www.TravisCountyTax.org. Those needing to set up a property tax payment plan will not be able to do so at the tax office after 5:30 p.m. However, many taxpayers are eligible to set one up online.

The Travis County Tax Office annually collects more than $3 billion in property taxes for 112 local government entities. Its collection rate is more than 99 percent – one of the highest in the state. Travis County, cities in the county, including the City of Austin, and local school districts use property tax money to fund their operations and programs.

Tax office partners Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas, working with the League of Women Voters, and Univision are offering voter registration Monday, Feb. 1, at the following locations:

  •  Alamo Drafthouse Ritz, 320 E. 6th St, 6 p.m. to midnight.
  •  Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar, 1120 South Lamar, noon to midnight.
  •  Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter, 5701 W. Slaughter Lane, noon to midnight.
  •  Alamo Drafthouse Lakeline, 14028 N. U.S. Highway 183, Building F, noon to midnight.
  •  Alamo Drafthouse Village, 2700 W. Anderson Lane, Suite 701, noon to midnight.

Voter registration at Univision will be available 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the station’s headquarters, 2233 W. North Loop Blvd.

Currently, there are more than 650,000 registered voters in Travis County, an historical record. Elfant is hoping to register 90 percent of the county’s eligible voters in time for the November presidential election. To do that, the county will need a total 715,000 or more registered voters. Learn about voter registration and how you can qualify to help register voters at www.TravisCountyTax.org


January 22, 2016 - Help register Travis County's eligible voters by becoming a Volunteer Deputy Registrar

RegisterBeCountedsm

Volunteer Deputy Registrars help citizens register to vote, promote voter registration at community events and within social networks, distribute voter registration applications and confirm that applications are completed correctly, issue an official receipt as proof of registration, and deliver applications to the Voter Registrar within five days of completion.

Becoming a deputy registrar allows you to help the tax office register 90 percent of the county’s eligible voters by the 2016 Presidential Election. Currently, the tax office needs to register approximately 60,000 county residents to reach that goal.

Training opportunities:
Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016 – 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m.
Travis County Tax Office, 5501 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX 78751
Registration for this event is not required.

Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016 – 10 a.m.
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, 4700 Grover Ave., Austin, TX 78756
Registration for this event is requested at https://goo.gl/R1MYmQ.

For more information, please visit www.TravisCountyTax.org or call (512) 854-9473. Follow the tax office on Facebook for all the latest voter registration news, including training dates, www.facebook.com/TravisCountyTaxOffice.


January 21, 2016 - Feb. 1 last day to register to vote for Travis County primary election

RegisterBeCountedsm

If you want to help decide who will be the presidential and local candidates in the November general election then you must make sure you are registered to vote and that the Travis County Tax Office’s Registration Division has your correct home address and name.

To vote in the March 1 primary election, you must be registered by midnight, Feb. 1. Early voting for the primary election begins Feb. 16.

Travis County residents can check their voter registration status by going to www.votetravis.com. If you need to update your home address or name visit www.texas.gov and simply put the word “voter” into the search engine.

Many new voters requested postage-paid voter applications through the tax office’s Text2Register program, but some have failed to mail the application back.

“If you have a voter application and want to vote in the primary election, you must mail your application in now,” says Voter Registrar Bruce Elfant. “There is still time this week for us to mail you a postage-paid voter application, but you need to send it back immediately in order to make the Feb. 1 deadline.”

Voters also can come to any of the five tax office locations to fill out a voter registration application. The main Travis County Tax Office, 5501 Airport Blvd., will stay open until midnight Feb. 1 to accept voter registration applications.

Voter applications that miss the deadline for the primary election will be processed and those voters will be eligible to vote in the general election Nov. 8.

“Many people in our country died fighting for the right to vote,” Elfant says. “Today, we must remember it is more a responsibility than an elective activity or privilege to vote and you can’t vote if you aren’t registered.”

The Travis County Clerk, the office responsible for conducting elections, provides sample ballots and polling location information at www.votetravis.com.

Information on voter registration, including eligibility requirements, is available on the Travis County Tax Office website, www.TravisCountyTax.org.


January 15, 2016 - Deadline to pay property taxes Feb. 1, Austin police chief promotes online payments

As the Feb. 1 property tax deadline approaches, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo takes you inside his home to demonstrate how easy it is to pay your property taxes online with an eCheck.

The camera catches the police chief getting out of bed, slipping into his tiger slippers and heading to the dining room table to fire up his laptop to pay –and yes, even the police chief has to pay his property taxes – online. View the Acevedo public service announcement: http://bit.ly/1WcyPOjAustinPoliceChief.

The online eCheck payment only costs $1 and if you are bumping up against the Feb. 1 deadline, it is the fastest and most secure way to pay your property taxes to ensure you will not incur a financial penalty and interest on your tax bill.

"We are all extremely busy in our everyday lives, which leads many people to procrastinate when it comes to paying their tax bill," says Bruce Elfant, the Travis County tax assessor-collector. "And let’s face it, no one likes having to pay their tax bill but we all have to do it so why not choose the quick and easy online method?"

When you pay online, the system will automatically send you a "paid" email. State law requires penalty and interest be added to the tax bill for anyone who pays after Feb. 1. A homeowner or business owner having difficulty paying their property taxes can set up a payment plan online. Both can be done on the Travis County Tax Office website www.TravisCountyTax.org.


2015 NEWS

Dec. 22, 2015 - Don’t miss the December property tax receipt deadline

Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector Bruce Elfant is reminding residents they must pay their property tax before Jan. 1 to receive a 2015 receipt for federal income tax.

“People usually have a long list of things to do during the holiday season, but please don’t forget to pay your property taxes on or before Dec. 31 if you need a 2015 receipt,” Elfant said.

Those not worried about a 2015 receipt have until Feb. 1, 2016 to pay their property taxes without penalty.

“Paying by eCheck for only $1 is a bargain compared to the time it takes to fight traffic and wait in line at the tax office. Plus you have the peace of mind knowing instantly that your payment has been received,” Elfant said. Online services are available 24/7, www.traviscountytax.org.

Customers can also pay by credit card, but there is a three percent fee charged by the credit card payment vendor providing the service.

Customers wanting to pay by mail must have their envelopes postmarked on or before Dec. 31.

Payments are accepted in person at any of the five county tax office locations. All Travis County tax office locations will be closed Dec. 24-25.


Dec. 8, 2015Hold on to your new blue voter registration certificate

If you’re a registered Travis County voter be sure to watch the mail for a new, blue voter registration certificate, which identifies you as a registered county voter through December 2017.

The previous certificate, which was orange, expires at the end of this month.

“It is important for voters to check the mail for their new certificate,” says Travis County Voter Registrar Bruce Elfant. “If you are registered to vote and your certificate does not arrive or is incorrect, we want to help you make the necessary changes before the next election.”

Mailing voter registration certificates – often referred to as the voter registration “card” - every two years provides an opportunity for voters and the county to update their records. Voters can return the certificate with corrections noted on the back, and a new one will be mailed in 30 days.

The most common reasons registration cards need correction are because the voter:

  • Address or name changed.
  • Moved out of the county.
  • Died.

If you moved and provided a forwarding address at the post office, the tax office will mail you an address confirmation card. If you do not respond with an updated address, you are placed in a suspense file noting your address cannot be confirmed. This action does not prevent you from voting but may cause a delay at the polling place on Election Day.

You can update your address online, providing you still reside in Travis County, at https://txapps.texas.gov/tolapp/sos/SOSACManager. For information on registering to vote in Travis County go to www.traviscountytax.org/voters.


Oct. 26, 2015 - Become a Volunteer Deputy Registrar: November Training Dates Announced

RegisterBeCountedsm

Volunteers help citizens register to vote, promote voter registration at community events and within social networks, distribute voter registration applications and confirm that applications are completed correctly, issue an official receipt as proof of registration, and deliver applications to the Voter Registrar within five days of completion.

Becoming a deputy registrar allows you to help the tax office register 90 percent of the county’s eligible voters by the 2016 Presidential Election. Currently, the tax office needs to register more than 65,000 county residents to reach that goal.

Training opportunities:

Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015 – 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m.
Travis County Tax Office, 5501 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX 78751
Registration for this event is not required.

Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015 – 10 a.m.
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, 4700 Grover Ave., Austin, TX 78756
Registration for this event is requested at http://goo.gl/forms/WDcHnvRUlS.

For more information, please visit www.TravisCountyTax.org or call (512) 854-9473. Follow the tax office on Facebook for all the latest voter registration news, including training dates, www.facebook.com/TravisCountyTaxOffice.


September 28, 2015 - Register to vote by Monday, October 5 for the November election

RegisterBeCountedsm

Travis County residents have until Monday, Oct. 5, to register or update their voting address in time for the November general election.Registration is available at any county tax office location, including the main tax office, 5501 Airport Blvd. Several county tax office partners also offer registration applications, including Thundercloud Subs, HEBs, Alamo Drafthouses, the universities of Texas, St. Edward’s and Huston-Tillotson, Austin Community College campuses and Austin’s public libraries and high schools.

The Austin Public Library will host a special Voter Registration Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 3, at all its locations. Volunteer Deputy Registrars will be on site at the main library and branch locations to help voters register or update their voting address.

Those who don’t want to leave their house still have time to text “Register” to 48683 and the tax office will send you a postage-paid voter registration application but that application must be postmarked by Monday, Oct. 5. Go to www.TravisCountyTax.org  for complete voter registration details, including a link that allows voters to update their voting address online.

The general election is Nov. 3 and includes seven state constitutional amendment changes and one Travis County bond proposition. The constitutional amendments include one to lower property taxes by increasing the homestead exemption and another that allows using motor sales tax revenue to fund road building. The Travis County bond proposition would authorize the county to issue more than $287 million in bonds for the building of a new civil and family court building in downtown Austin.

More information on the ballot is available from the Travis County Clerk’s website, www.traviscountyclerk.org.

September 22, 2015 - Become a Volunteer Deputy Registrar: October Training Dates Announced

RegisterBeCountedsm

Volunteers help citizens register to vote, promote voter registration at community events and within social networks, distribute voter registration applications and confirm that applications are completed correctly, issue an official receipt as proof of registration, and deliver applications to the Voter Registrar within five days of completion.

Becoming a deputy registrar allows you to help the tax office register 90 percent of the county’s eligible voters by the 2016 Presidential Election. Currently, the tax office needs to register more than 80,000 county residents to reach that goal.

Training opportunities:

Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015 – 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m.
Travis County Tax Office, 5501 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX 78751
Registration for this event is not required.

Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015 – 10 a.m.
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, 4700 Grover Ave., Austin, TX 78756
Registration for this event is requested at http://goo.gl/forms/WDcHnvRUlS.

For more information, please visit www.TravisCountyTax.org or call (512) 854-9473. Follow the tax office on Facebook for all the latest voter registration news, including training dates, www.facebook.com/TravisCountyTaxOffice.

Voter registration is nonpartisan. You do not declare a political party when you register in Texas and no one registering voters is permitted to ask your political affiliation.


September 1, 2015 - Businesses, schools, nonprofits, houses of worship asked to help register voters in September

The Travis County Tax Office is asking the community to participate in voter registration activities during the month of September, including hosting local voter registration drives and helping to promote the new Text2Register messaging service.

Bruce Elfant, the Travis County tax assessor-collector and voter registrar, is requesting the local community become involved in the Great Travis County Voter Registration Challenge, a year-long public service initiative to register 90 percent of the county’s eligible voters. To reach that goal, the county will need to add 100,000 voters to its voter registration roll.

September is an important month in that effort. The Travis County Commissioners Court is expected to issue a proclamation on Sept. 8 recognizing September as Voter Registration Awareness Month.

The tax office is placing extra emphasis on certain weeks of the month. It also is offering to train groups of 10 more to become Volunteer Deputy Registrars.

TEXT REQUEST PRINT
  • Education Week, targeting high schools, vocational/trade schools, colleges and universities, goes through Saturday, Sept. 7.
  • Civic Week, Sept. 7-13, will involve local businesses, food banks, shelters and city governments.
  • Community Week, Sept. 14-20, is a grassroots effort with outreach to and by nonprofits, family, friends and neighbors.
  • Houses of Worship Week, Sept. 21-27, requesting churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and meeting houses hold voter registration drives before and after services. Also asking pastors, imams, rabbis and worship leaders to ask their congregations to take out their cellphones at the start of service, request they text “Register” to 48683 (I Vote) to receive a postage-paid voter registration application.

Sept. 22 is the National Voter Registration Day. Elfant will take part in a Voter Registration Day celebration at the Austin Community College Highland Mall campus. Anyone wanting to participate or hold an event for registration month, can email the tax office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The tax office is also looking for more businesses and organizations to become voter registration partners. Information on partnering with the tax office is available at www.TravisCountyTax.org. Want to help but too busy to volunteer or host an event? Please spread the word about Text2Register by using the logo as your Facebook profile picture for September, tweeting it out to friends and/or placing it on your website. Voter registration is nonpartisan. You do not declare a political party when you register in Texas and no one registering voters is permitted to ask your political affiliation.


TEXT REQUEST PRINT

August 6, 2015 - Tax Office launches Great Travis County Voter Registration Challenge with Text Request

Voter registration applications are now available by Text Request, a new service that allows eligible voters to ask for an application by texting the key word “Register” to IVOTE or 48683 on their cellphones.

The Text Request tool was introduced at a news conference Thursday where Bruce Elfant, the Travis County tax assessor-collector and voter registrar, announced his office plans to register 90 percent of the county’s eligible voters by the 2016 presidential election. The news conference was at the LBJ Presidential Library as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the landmark Voting Rights Act that was signed into law by President Lyndon Baines Johnson on Aug. 6, 1965.

“I don’t think President Johnson could have ever imagined that the law he signed to end discrimination at the polls would one day result in typing into a phone to request a voter registration application,” Elfant said. “We hope Text Request will encourage more people, especially our youth, to register to vote.”

When the tax office receives a text request, a message is sent to the prospective voter to provide a home address to which a postage-paid voter registration application will be sent. Text Request is believed to be the first texting service for mail-in voter registration applications in the nation.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t succeed in getting online voter registration this past legislative session so we are really pleased to have Text Request,” Elfant said. Younger voters are looking for voter registration that’s easy, convenient and uses the technology they have grown up with, he added.

Former state Sen. Joe Christie spent two years developing Text Request and is providing the service free to Travis County. “I chose Travis County to be the first to test the service because Austin has the largest percentage of millennials – 27 percent – in the nation and the goal is to use the technology they know to register those 20- to 34-year-olds so they will become engaged in the election process,” Christie said.

“This age group is used to instant access to information,” he added. “They all have cellphones, they communicate by texting and over 97 percent of their text messages are read.

“That makes texting the most effective way to get them registered and then get them to vote,” Christie said.

It’s not just young people who are failing to register and vote. A study by the University of Texas’ Annette Straus Institute for Civic Life shows the Lone Star State ranks 42nd among states for voter registration and last in the nation in voter turnout.

What makes those numbers so riveting is that struggle a half-century ago when African-Americans endured violence against them, poll taxes and literacy tests but rose up under the leadership of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to risk their lives for the opportunity to be treated as equal at the ballot box. The courage and political savvy of a southerner, President Johnson, successfully pushed forward voting rights, providing the opportunity for every U.S. citizen regardless of ethnicity to have a voice in the election of their local and national political leaders.

“It is sad to see that today so many Americans have chosen to silent their voice,” Elfant said. “Our hope is to convince everyone in Travis County from any party or no party to speak up and be heard – register and vote.”

For Elfant to help resurrect that sense of civic duty and reach his 90 percent target, the county will have to register about 720,000 voters. Currently, there are more than 642,000 registered voters. A voter registration counter is on the homepage of the tax office website, www.TravisCountyTax.org.

Each person’s vote carries the same weight in the ballot box and Elfant recalled the person who spoke on this best was President Johnson during his remarks before signing the Voting Rights Act into law.

“So, let me now say…You must register. You must vote. You must learn, so your choice advances your interest and the interest of our beloved nation,” President Johnson said. “Your future, and your children's future, depend upon it.”


August 20, 2015 - Become a Volunteer Deputy Registrar: August Training Dates Announced

RegisterBeCountedsm

Register voters for the Nov. 3, 2015, General Election now by becoming a Volunteer Deputy Registrar. The deadline to register to vote is Monday, Oct. 5, 2015. To volunteer, you must be age 18 or older and attend a one-hour training session.

Volunteers help citizens register to vote, promote voter registration at community events and within social networks, distribute voter registration applications and confirm that applications are completed correctly, issue an official receipt as proof of registration, and deliver applications to the Voter Registrar within five days of completion.

Training opportunities:

Tuesday, August 4, 2015 – 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m.
Travis County Tax Office, 5501 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX 78751
Registration for this event is not required.

Saturday, August 8, 2015 – 10 a.m.
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, 4700 Grover Ave., Austin, TX 78756
Registration for this event is requested at http://goo.gl/forms/WDcHnvRUlS.

For more information, please visit www.traviscountytax.org or call (512) 854-9473.


June 22, 2015 - Become a Volunteer Deputy Registrar: July Training Dates Announced

RegisterBeCountedsm

Register voters for the Nov. 3, 2015, General Election now by becoming a Volunteer Deputy Registrar. The deadline to register to vote is Monday, Oct. 5, 2015. To volunteer, you must be age 18 or older and attend a one-hour training session.

Volunteers help citizens register to vote, promote voter registration at community events and within social networks, distribute voter registration applications and confirm that applications are completed correctly, issue an official receipt as proof of registration, and deliver applications to the Voter Registrar within five days of completion.

Training opportunities:

Tuesday, June 2, 2015 – 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m.
Travis County Tax Office, 5501 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX 78751
Registration for this event is not required.

Saturday, June 13, 2015 – 10 a.m.
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, 4700 Grover Ave., Austin, TX 78756
Registration for this event is requested at http://goo.gl/forms/WDcHnvRUlS.

For more information, please visit www.traviscountytax.org or call (512) 854-9473.


June 16, 2015 - Travis County tax offices to close early today - 4 p.m. due to serious weather conditions in metro area

Travis County tax offices will close at 4 p.m. today as the metro area faces the threat of flash floods.

Bruce Elfant, the Travis County tax assessor-collector and voter registrar, is urging tax office customers and employees to stay off the roads. “We want everyone safe,” he said.

Many county services are offered online, including vehicle registration renewal, property tax payments and address changes. “Skip the trip,” Elfant said. For a complete list of online services, go to www.TravisCountyTax.org.

Any changes in operation hours are posted on the tax office website, www.TravisCountyTax.org, Twitter @TravisCountyTax and Facebook at www.facebook.com/TravisCountyTaxOffice.


May 18, 2015 - Become a Volunteer Deputy Registrar: June Training Dates Announced

RegisterBeCountedsm

Register voters for the Nov. 3, 2015, General Election now by becoming a Volunteer Deputy Registrar. The deadline to register to vote is Monday, Oct. 5, 2015. To volunteer, you must be age 18 or older and attend a one-hour training session.

Volunteers help citizens register to vote, promote voter registration at community events and within social networks, distribute voter registration applications and confirm that applications are completed correctly, issue an official receipt as proof of registration, and deliver applications to the Voter Registrar within five days of completion.

Training opportunities:

Tuesday, June 2, 2015 – 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m.
Travis County Tax Office, 5501 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX 78751
Registration for this event is not required.

Saturday, June 13, 2015 – 10 a.m.
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, 4700 Grover Ave., Austin, TX 78756
Registration for this event is requested at http://goo.gl/forms/WDcHnvRUlS.

For more information, please visit www.traviscountytax.org or call (512) 854-9473.


April 21, 2015 - Become a Volunteer Deputy Registrar: May Training Dates Announced

RegisterBeCountedsm

Register voters for the Nov. 3, 2015, General Election now by becoming a Volunteer Deputy Registrar. The deadline to register to vote is Monday, Oct. 5, 2015. To volunteer, you must be age 18 or older and attend a one-hour training session.

Volunteers help citizens register to vote, promote voter registration at community events and within social networks, distribute voter registration applications and confirm that applications are completed correctly, issue an official receipt as proof of registration, and deliver applications to the Voter Registrar within five days of completion.

Training opportunities:

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 – 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m.
Travis County Tax Office, 5501 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX 78751
Registration for this event is not required.

Saturday, May 9, 2015 – 10 a.m.
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, 4700 Grover Ave., Austin, TX 78756
Registration for this event is requested at http://goo.gl/forms/WDcHnvRUlS.

For more information, please visit www.traviscountytax.org or call (512) 854-9473.


March 27, 2015 - Voter registration deadline April 9 for May elections

RegisterBeCountedsm

Attention potential voters: You must register or file a change of address by April 9 to vote in the upcoming Joint General and Special Election. If you are unsure of your voter registration status, check it online at www.votetravis.com.

The election is scheduled from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, May 9, but early voting begins April 27.
A voter registration application and additional information are available online. If mailed, the application must be postmarked no later than April 9, 2015.

You may also register at any of the five Travis County Tax Office locations. Business hours, maps and driving directions to tax office locations available at www.TravisCountyTax.org.

If you moved within Travis County since the last time you voted, you can update your address online using the Voter Name and Address Change application.


March 25, 2015 - Elfant responds to Travis County's new PACE program

PACEsmall

Austin, TX – Property Assessment Clean Energy (PACE), enacted during the 2013 Texas Legislature with support from both sides of the aisle, is expected to unlock a considerable amount of private funding for clean energy projects in the state.

This innovative financing program – completely free of government mandates and public funding – will enable commercial, industrial, multi-family, and agricultural property owners to obtain low-cost, long-term loans for water conservation, energy-efficiency, and renewable energy projects. Participants will then repay these loans for clean energy projects through their property tax bill at the Travis County Tax Office. More information is available on the Travis County website, https://www.traviscountytx.gov/pace.

Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector Bruce Elfant, a strong PACE proponent, released the following statement about the unanimous approval Tuesday of the Travis County Commissioners Court to establish the PACE program:

“It is a credit to the Legislature and the Travis County Commissioners Court that our county will be the first in Texas to offer an affordable way for business property owners to reduce their environmental impact and upgrade their properties. It should be economically beneficial for the business and good for the environment.

“This is a win for business property owners, a win for the environment and a win for residents of Travis County as this program provides the incentive and means for property owners to make our county a better place to live without placing any burden on taxpayers.

“The Travis County Commissioners Court unanimously approved the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, the state’s first financing program for energy and water conservation projects, and I especially want to thank two commissioners, Gerald Daugherty and Brigid Shea, for sponsoring Travis County PACE.

“Supported by such diverse organizations as the Environmental Defense Fund and the Texas Association of Business, PACE will lower costs for participating Texas businesses and reduce consumption of limited and increasingly expensive energy and water resources.

“PACE will enable commercial and industrial property owners and residential properties with five or more units to obtain low-cost, long-term loans for water conservation, energy-efficiency improvements, and renewable retrofits. In exchange for funds provided by private lenders to pay for energy or water projects, property owners will voluntarily request that the Travis County Tax Office place an assessment on the property secured with a senior lien until the assessment is paid in full. Property owners also will be able to transfer the lien if they sell the property.”

“Property assessment financing is expected to be easier to obtain than other conventional methods, likely at a lower cost for borrowers, and will not cost Travis County taxpayers a dime.”


March 23, 2015 - Become a Volunteer Deputy Registrar: April Training Dates Announced

RegisterBeCountedsm

Austin, TX – Register voters for the May 9, 2015 Joint General and Special Election now by becoming a Volunteer Deputy Registrar. To volunteer, you must be age 18 or older and attend a one-hour training session. Training takes place Tuesday, April 7, 2015 at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at the main Travis County Tax Office, 5501 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX 78751.

Volunteers help citizens register to vote, promote voter registration at community events and within social networks, distribute voter registration applications and confirm that applications are completed correctly, issue an official receipt as proof of registration, and deliver applications to the Voter Registrar within five days of completion.

The deadline to register to vote for the May 9, 2015 Joint General and Special Election is Thursday, April 9, 2015.

For more information, please visit www.traviscountytax.org or call (512) 854-9473.


March 7, 2015 - Statement by Travis County Voter Registrar Bruce Elfant on the 50th anniversary of the historic march on Selma

“We must never forget Selma. We must always remember that “Bloody Sunday” when American citizens were clubbed, gassed and beaten simply because they wanted to register to vote.

“The courageous actions at Selma capped a nearly 200-year struggle to ensure the right to vote belonged to all Americans, not just a privileged class, but to every citizen in the United States.

“Those who risked and gave up their lives to ensure voting rights understood that a representative government must represent all Americans. That historic march at the Edmund Pettus Bridge enabled millions of disenfranchised Americans to be represented, but today the sad truth is that for too many Americans the right to vote has not resulted in the act of voting.

“I believe President Johnson and Dr. King would be stunned to know that 50 years later nearly 60 million eligible voters don’t vote - not because of obstacles placed in their way, but because they do not make voting a priority – they choose not to vote.

“Thanks to those who marched in Selma and elsewhere so that all Americans have the right to vote. We owe it to those who came before us and who will come after us to zealously protect our hard fought Constitutional rights, and yes, our very freedom, by voting.”


February 19, 2015 - Become a Volunteer Deputy Registrar: March Training Dates Announced

RegisterBeCountedsm

Austin, TX – Register voters for the May 9, 2015 Joint General and Special Election now by becoming a Volunteer Deputy Registrar. To volunteer, you must be age 18 or older and attend a one-hour training session. Training takes place Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at the main Travis County Tax Office, 5501 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX 78751.

Volunteers help citizens register to vote, promote voter registration at community events and within social networks, distribute voter registration applications and confirm that applications are completed correctly, issue an official receipt as proof of registration, and deliver applications to the Voter Registrar within five days of completion.

The deadline to register to vote for the May 9, 2015 Joint General and Special Election is Thursday, April 9, 2015.

For more information, please visit www.traviscountytax.org or call (512) 854-9473.


February 17, 2015 - The New Texas Two-Step: Vehicle registration & inspection stickers partnering up in Travis County

AnInspectionStickerScrapedOff

Beginning March 1, 2015, a new state law will eliminate vehicle inspection stickers under a new “Two Steps, One Sticker” program. Under the new system, Texas vehicle owners will need to “Inspect to Register” by passing inspection and emissions testing in Travis County before they can renew or register their vehicles.

The familiar blue-bordered Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) registration sticker will serve as proof of both inspection and registration. That means Texans will only need one sticker on their windshields.

“The Travis County Tax Office is prepared to make this transition as smooth as possible for our residents,” said Bruce Elfant, the county tax assessor-collector. It will take two years before all Travis County residents have their inspections aligned to the vehicle sticker expiration date, he added.

What you need to know:

  • If your registration and inspection stickers currently expire in the same month of 2015, you will need an inspection and emissions test before you can renew. For you, everything proceeds as normal except you have to remember the correct order: Inspect to Register.
  • If your registration and inspection stickers expire in different months, you must make sure you have a current inspection to renew your vehicle registration in 2015. To sync the dates, your inspection remains valid, or is extended, until your registration sticker expires in 2016. This aligns your inspection or “syncs” the date to your sticker expiration date.
  • Once you are synced you can renew your inspection within 90-days of the registration sticker expiration date. Your inspection results are electronically recorded in a Texas Department of Public Safety database and checked when you go to renew your registration. Without a passing inspection, the vehicle will not be eligible for registration renewal.

“When the ‘Two Steps, One Sticker’ program is fully implemented, Travis County residents will appreciate having just one sticker in the corner of their windshield and only one expiration date to worry about,” said TxDMV Executive Director Whitney Brewster. “And because a passing vehicle inspection will be a requirement to renew your registration, more vehicle owners will comply with inspection requirements leading to safer and more environmentally sound cars on Texas roads.”

The program is a joint effort by the TxDMV, Texas Department of Public Safety and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

For more information: www.TwoStepsOneSticker.com  or www.TravisCountyTax.org 


January 23, 2015 - Don’t miss the Feb. 2 property tax deadline

Travis County Assessor-Collector Bruce Elfant is reminding Travis County property owners they must pay their taxes by midnight, Monday, Feb. 2, to avoid penalty and interest charges.

The fastest and easiest way to pay is online where it only costs $1 to use an eCheck and gives customers an emailed payment receipt.

“It is important to me that online services provide payment options for Travis County residents,” Elfant said. “Many taxpayers need to save time and don’t want to stand in a long line.”

Credit card payments require a three percent convenience fee. State law prohibits the collection of any fee other than the actual property tax due so a third-party vendor is needed to accept credit cards. Travis County does not keep any portion of the convenience fee.

Payments mailed with a U.S. Postal Service Feb. 2 or earlier postmark are considered timely upon receipt. Payments placed in the main tax office drop box, 5501 Airport Blvd, by midnight Feb. 2 will also meet the deadline.

Those struggling to pay their property taxes can arrange for a payment plan by contacting the tax office.

Homesteads with existing senior, disabled or disabled veteran exemptions can arrange to pay their property taxes in four installments without any added penalties or interest. Other taxpayers also can set up installment plans but will pay penalties and interest, though customers with homesteads may qualify to have part of the penalty frozen.

Taxpayers can use the property search feature on the tax office website, www.traviscountytax.org, to pay their taxes, apply for a payment plan and obtain their 2014 receipt.

Travis County has five tax office locations.

Travis County Tax Office:
Open 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday
5501 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX 78751

Travis County Tax Office Branches: Open to customers 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday
East Austin – 4705 Heflin Ln, Austin, TX 78721
Southeast Austin – 4011 McKinney Falls Pkwy, Austin, TX 78744
Pflugerville – 15822 Foothill Farms Loop, Pflugerville, TX 78660
Southwest Austin – 8656 Hwy 71 W, Building B, Austin, TX 78735


January 21, 2015 - Become a Volunteer Deputy Registrar: February Training Dates Announced

RegisterBeCountedsm

Register voters for the May 9, 2015 Joint General and Special Election now by becoming a Volunteer Deputy Registrar. To volunteer, you must be age 18 or older and attend a one-hour training session. Training takes place Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015 at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at the main Travis County Tax Office, 5501 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX 78751.

Volunteers help citizens register to vote, promote voter registration at community events and within social networks, distribute voter registration applications and confirm that applications are completed correctly, issue an official receipt as proof of registration, and deliver applications to the Voter Registrar within five days of completion.

The deadline to register to vote for the May 9, 2015 Joint General and Special Election is Thursday, April 9, 2015.

For more information, please visit www.traviscountytax.org or call (512) 854-9473.


January 20, 2015 - Voter Registrar Honors Efforts of Volunteers, Businesses and Nonprofits

The Travis County Tax Office recognized 48 county residents, businesses and nonprofit organizations at the Celebration of Democracy, an event that kicked off the 50th anniversary year of the Voting Rights Act, Thursday at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum.

Max Patterson was named 2014 Volunteer Deputy Registrar of the Year for registering 601 voters, and Mary Patrick was named 2014 Volunteer of the Year for coordinating Volunteer Deputy Registrar trainings for 88 consecutive weeks at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin.

Top organization honors went to Battleground Texas for its 269 volunteers who registered 5,226 new Travis County voters, the most of any organization in the county, and the First Unitarian Universalist Church for hosting the 88 Volunteer Deputy Registrar trainings.

Other businesses and organizations recognized at the event for their contributions to voter registration efforts included: ThunderCloud Subs, Austin Public Library, Austin Parks and Recreation Department, Capital Area Food Bank of Texas, Foundation Communities, United States Postal Service, HEB, Pflugerville Independent School District, Austin Community College, Center for Public Policy and Political Studies at Austin Community College, University of Texas’ “Hook the Vote,” Huston-Tillotson University, Austin Music People and the Austin-area League of Women Voters.

“I am proud to say that…during this last two-year election cycle, 4,000 of you helped add a record 65,000 citizens to the voter rolls,” said Bruce Elfant, Travis County tax assessor-collector and voter registrar.”

Thirty-three Volunteer Deputy Registrars, including Patterson, became members of the “100 Club,” which honors those registering 100 or more citizens to vote.

100 Club Honorees
300 to 601 Voters Registered

Max Patterson: 601
Grant Wiles: 497
Carlos Martinez-Arriaga: 381
Katherine Adams: 354
Tahre Wedlow: 344
Michelle Carlson: 312

150-299 Voters Registered

Barbara Mason: 240
Frances Hartley: 212
Megan Klein: 208
Stella Savage: 198
Brian Jackson: 195
Suzana Carranza: 194
Allison McCleary: 182
Sean Hiribarne Zamora: 176
Max Miles: 159
Taryn Stoneking: 150

149-100 Voters Registered

Timothy Bray: 149
Cam Ray: 147
Madeline Toups: 147
Ruth Davis: 138
Cheryl Reese: 137
Linda Guy: 131
Maliha Mazhar: 128
Greg Vunderink: 127
Christopher Nickerson: 126
Christine Nelson: 121
Jane McCarthy: 120
Arome Yakubu: 117
Gyles Sonier: 115
Blake Medley: 113
Aleth Oaferina: 110
Erin Schultz: 107
Zachary Foust: 105

Pictures of the winners are available in the 2015 Celebration of Democracy album online at http://goo.gl/3gbG8S.

“By the time we vote in the 2016 presidential election it is my goal that 90 percent of Travis County citizens will be registered to vote,” Elfant said. “I will be asking school officials, apartment managers and title company representatives to help register voters.

“I am hopeful that the Texas Legislature will authorize Texans to join 24 other states that have implemented online voter registration which is more secure, cost effective and more convenient,” he added.

If you are interested in becoming a Travis County Volunteer Deputy Registrar, attend a training session at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. the first Tuesday of every month at the county tax office, 5501 Airport Blvd.

More information on Volunteer Deputy Registrars is available online at https://tax-office.traviscountytx.gov/voters/volunteers.


January 15, 2015 - Celebration of Democracy

Remarks by Bruce Elfant, Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector & Voter Registrar Delivered January15, 2015 at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library & Museum

Good afternoon.

I want to first thank Mark Updegrove for agreeing to co-sponsor this event and for so eloquently assessing the significance of the Voting Rights Act and President Johnson’s role in getting it passed. I cannot think of a more appropriate keynote speaker for this event than Regina Lawrence whose mission is to encourage citizens to participate in their democracy.

Thank you to our voter registration staff who are responsible for maintaining a constantly changing voter roll of more than 600,000 voters, accurately interpreting voting boundaries for more than 200 political jurisdictions, responding to thousands of requests for data, implementing changes in voter registration laws and… encouraging more citizens to register and vote.

Thanks also to all of the Tax Office staff who spend many hours working to make this event special and memorable. And thank you to you - our Volunteer Deputy Registrars who worked tirelessly to encourage citizens to take advantage of the most important right of living in a free society – the right to vote.

It is fair to say that the seeds for today’s Celebration of Democracy were planted 50 years ago when President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act that outlawed racial barriers to voting. This is the anniversary year of that historic event. And with one stroke of a pen, in August 1965 millions of American citizens who had been shut out of their democracy, for the first time had the opportunity to elect people who would represent their interests.

These new voters elected mayors, legislators and members of congress who changed our nation in profound ways. Segregation was being dismantled. Opportunities to obtain a quality education and good paying jobs were greatly expanded. This period of our history represents one of the most dramatic examples that civic engagement and voting does matter.

Regina Lawrence told us that over the past several decades, fewer Americans have chosen to engage in civic matters. According to the International Institute for Democracy the U.S. ranks about 100th in voter turnout and in 2014 Texas ranked 49th out of 50 states.

Some believe lower voter turnout is a result of legislative efforts to suppress the vote. It is clear to me that laws like voter ID have prevented eligible citizens from having their votes count and should be overturned, Anyone who tells you that no one has been disenfranchised as a result of the Voter ID law doesn’t know what they are talking about. And anyone who tells you that too few people were disenfranchised to matter doesn’t understand the U. S. Constitution.

But that cannot be an excuse for millions of citizens who voluntarily give up their right to vote. President Obama said “the truth is that for all these laws that are being put in place, the biggest problem we have is people giving up their own power- voluntarily not participating.”

Our mission is to work to reverse this disturbing trend. And I am proud to say that Travis County is leading the way. During this last two- year election cycle, 4,000 of you helped add a record 65,000 citizens to the voter rolls. But all that work only really matters if more people voted. Well they did. While the national and state turnouts were at historic lows, Travis County was the only major Texas county where voter turnout increased.

By the time we vote in the 2016 presidential election it is my goal that 90 percent of Travis County citizens will be registered to vote and that voter turnout will hit an all-time high. I will be asking school officials to help register students as they turn 18. Apartment managers and title company representatives will be encouraged to offer voter registration cards to all who rent apartments and buy homes. We are committed to recruiting and training even more volunteer deputy registrars who will reach even more people. And I am hopeful that the Texas Legislature will authorize Texans to join 24 other states that have implemented online voter registration which is more secure, cost effective and more convenient.

I have no doubt we will all do a great job but the point of Regina’s remarks was that people have to be in some way motivated to vote. In addition to offering to register people to vote, we have
to convince them that voting really matters. President Johnson said "This right to vote is the basic right without which all others are meaningless. It gives people - people as individuals, control over their own destinies."

I believe voting matters because of close elections like the recent council election that was decided by just 57 votes, and the state Representative election decided by 4 votes. But this isn’t just about close elections. It matters that voter turnout is high enough to accurately reflect the will of the people. A majority of just 15 percent of registered voters elected our new city council. How representative is that?

Voting should matter because politicians pay more attention to communities where more people vote. Voting matters because while some well-funded special interests may be able to exercise far more “free speech” than others, the great equalizer is that every citizen has one vote.

Voting matters, because while the U.S. promotes free and fair elections around the world, American citizens should be leading by example at home. And I believe voting matters because those who sacrificed so much to secure our right to vote, viewed participation in civic affairs not just as a right, but as a responsibility of citizenship.

The American story about the struggle to secure, expand and maintain rights for all our citizens is exceptional in the history of mankind. But our rights are a lot like our muscles. In order for these rights to remain strong and vibrant they must be used.

Fifty years from now when some of the younger people in this audience will gather in this room to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, I hope discrimination in any form will be known only as an ugly relic of the past. I hope our citizens will be practicing at home what they preach abroad. Voters should be selecting their elected officials instead of elected officials selecting their voters. And that their actions should accurately reflect the collective will of a fully engaged citizenry.

Our job is to encourage citizens to flex their collective voting muscles so that in the year 2065, Dr. King’s Dream of equality and justice for all and President Johnson’s commitment to voting rights continue to be a strong and vibrant cornerstone of our American democracy.

Let us begin.

Thank you.


January 12, 2015 - Volunteer Deputy Registrar Event Scheduled for Thursday, January 15, 2015

Voting rights event kicks off 50th anniversary of Voting Rights Act Thursday at LBJ Library

WHEN: 2 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015

WHERE: Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum, 2313 Red River St., Austin, TX.

SPEAKERS: Bruce Elfant, Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector and Voter Registrar; Mark Updegrove, LBJ Library director; and Regina Lawrence, director of the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at the University of Texas.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • You will hear 50 years to the day the conversation between President Johnson and Martin Luther King Jr. on what’s needed to pass the Voting Rights Act.
  • See President Johnson’s address to Congress urging passage of the Voting Rights Act to ensure equal voting access for African Americans.
  • Celebrate the nation’s army of voter registration volunteers through the Travis County Volunteer Deputy Registrars and partner organizations, who will be feted for their outstanding accomplishments in reaching out to the community to register voters.
  • Watch the county’s Voter Registrar Bruce Elfant swear in more than 400 Volunteer Deputy Registrars at once. (This mass swearing in ceremony is expected to take place around 3:45 p.m.)

“Volunteer Deputy Registrars do not ask for your party affiliation or non-affiliation, don’t care what color you are or how much money you make - they give their personal time so their fellow citizens have the opportunity to register and vote how they see fit in city, county, state and national elections.” – Travis County Voter Registrar Bruce Elfant

RESOURCES: Historical Voting Rights Act photos are available for download and print on the LBJ Library website, http://www.lbjlibrary.net/collections/photo-archive.html LBJ’s remarks at the signing of the Voting Rights Act http://www.lbjlibrary.net/collections/selected-speeches/1965/08-06-1965.html


January 8, 2015 - Volunteer Deputy Registrar Event Kicks Off 50th Anniversary of Voting Rights Act

Travis County’s voter registration volunteers will kick off the 50th anniversary year of the Voting Rights Act, the landmark legislation championed by President Lyndon B. Johnson and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to end racial discrimination at the polls, at 2 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 15, at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum, 2313 Red River St.

Jan. 15 is King’s birthday, and history will be made in the LBJ Library auditorium when the recorded conversation between Johnson and King strategizing on the Voting Rights Act is played a half-century to the day on which it occurred.

“It is a great honor for our Volunteer Deputy Registrars to usher in this anniversary year, hear the conversation, see footage from that time, and to once again dedicate themselves to registering voters,” said Bruce Elfant, the Travis County tax assessor-collector and voter registrar. Elfant will mass deputize more than 400 registration volunteers and present awards to 40 volunteers, each of whom registered 100 or more voters in 2014 and 12 organizations for outstanding voter registration efforts.

Travis County has more than 4,000 Volunteer Deputy Registrars, who speak 61 different languages and represent 252 civic, religious and political organizations. Elfant said he appreciates that the LBJ Library is allowing Travis County to represent the diversity of the nation as a whole.

“Registering voters and exercising the right to vote gives a voice to all Americans despite, race, gender, social-economic circumstances, religion or sexual orientation,” Elfant said. “Each vote at the polls carries equal weight and provides equal opportunity for every citizen to make a difference in our country.”

But it wasn’t always that way. Women weren’t given the right to vote until 1920. African Americans, mostly in Southern states, were often blocked from voting by poll taxes, literacy tests and other methods, including the use of violence, until the 1965 Voting Rights Act provided enhanced protections prohibiting the denial or abridgment of the right to vote on account of race or color and placed Southern states’ voting policies and procedures, including Texas, under the scrutiny of the federal government.

That key provision of the Voting Rights Act was overturned by a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision that released these states from federal oversight of their election activities.
It put the Voting Rights Act back in the news as opponents of the Supreme Court decision claim new state laws, such as Texas’ voter identification law, are designed to keep minorities, the poor and elderly from voting.

March 7 marks the 50th anniversary of the marches led by King from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., calling for new voting rights laws. On that “Bloody Sunday,” the 600 marchers were attacked and beaten by police, an act that shocked the nation.

“LBJ ultimately used the crisis of Selma to compel reluctant lawmakers to pass the Voting Rights Act, which he signed on Aug. 6, 1965, and considered his greatest legislative triumph,” noted Mark Updegrove, the LBJ Library director. “The partnership between LBJ and MLK on civil rights is one of the most productive and consequential in American history.”

Despite the passage of the sweeping Civil Right Act a year earlier, many scholars consider the Voting Rights Act the most effective civil rights legislation because it gave minorities the power to impact change through the political process.

Updegrove will open the Voting Rights Act anniversary event, playing the Johnson-King telephone conversation and showing video of Johnson urging Congress to pass the act.
One thing for which there is no dispute is that nationally the number of people going to the polls is in decline. This major anniversary of the Voting Rights Act could not come at a better time, said Regina Lawrence, director of the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at the University of Texas-Austin, and a featured speaker at Thursday’s event.

"At a time when too many potential voters sit on the sidelines, we need to be reminded of the crucial importance of democracy's most fundamental right,” Lawrence said. “The Strauss Institute is delighted to take part in this event honoring both the legacy of the Voting Rights Act and these dedicated Volunteer Deputy Registrars.”

It is often easy to lose touch with history, Elfant said, adding it’s important to never forget people lost their lives fighting for equal access to the ballot box. Those who volunteer to register voters today are carrying on the legacy of those before them, including the Freedom Fighters.

“They are a continuation of the Freedom Fighters, some of whom gave their lives battling racial discrimination in the ‘60s to register African-American voters in the South,” Elfant said. “Volunteer Deputy Registrars do not ask for your party affiliation or non-affiliation, don’t care what color you are or how much money you make - they give their personal time so their fellow citizens have the opportunity to register and vote how they see fit in city, county, state and national elections.”

Travis County will register voters at the LBJ Library on Aug. 6, 2015 to commemorate Johnson’s signing of the Voting Rights Act.