It looks like some things are going to have to change. The Times reported yesterday that next year’s city budget could grow by $24.2 million unless some expenses are dropped.
Property tax near maximum
The city raised about $149 million in property taxes last year. The tax rate, which includes operations as well as debt service, was at $.6997 per hundred. Council could raise the tax rate but if they raise the operations portion more than 8% we can ask for a rollback election. An 8% increase would bring us to $.7557 per hundred and provide an additional $11 million.
We would still be $13 million short. If council decided to raise the tax rate to the maximum that Texas will allow we would be at $.80 per hundred. That would provide $170 million if the voters did not vote it down in a rollback election. Even the maximum would only raise $21 million, leaving them $3.2 million short.
We might see an increase in fees like the franchise fee that the city imposed on the water utility this year. We can expect to see members of council offering up all sorts of ways to soak the taxpayers. Trash collection rates and bridge rates could go up. The might even try to impose a speaker’s fee if you wish to speak before city council.
It is possible that we might see layoffs but most of us doubt that would happen. We might see cutbacks in spending like the 5% of capital spending that we allocate to public art. Services might be cut.
They might even vote to stop the quality of life projects. We voted to build the facilities but the city will have to come up with even more money to operate and maintain them.
Whatever happens, this is not going to be pretty.
It looks like the real “crazies” were the ones on council.
We deserve better