By CHRISTIN COYNE
The Willow Park City Council is expected to vote tonight to adopt a proposed budget and tax rate for the upcoming fiscal year.
City staff proposed the city’s total tax rate remain the same - 47.05 cents per $100 valuation - and higher than the effective rate of 46.97 cents per $100 valuation, the rate that would impose the same taxes as the current year if properties taxed both years are compared.
About 15.52 cents of that tax rate would cover debt obligations while about 31.53 cents would cover maintenance and operations for the city.
The average home value has decreased the past couple of years, staff told the council.
Not all council members have voiced support for keeping the total tax rate the same.
Council member Gene Martin, who went over a history of the city’s tax rates at a recent budget meeting, suggested dropping the tax rate by four cents in the upcoming fiscal year and another four cents the year following, for an 8 cent total drop over two years.
“At some point we will have major capital improvement needs, particularly in the water system. Some in the roads. And that should probably be funded by I&S (debt service) bonds,” Martin said. “And I think we should go to the public and ask for their approval to issue bonds for major development within the city. And I believe it will be much easier to get that approval if we show fiscal management of what we’re doing with the tax money and try to roll back fairly large increases that occurred in recent history.”
Martin pointed to recent increases the portion of the tax rate that funds maintenance and operations.
“The justification is we, the council, raised the M&O tax by 2 cents a couple years ago because the property values had dropped because of the general economic malaise that everybody is suffering from and we needed to raise the rate to keep our revenue stream the same as the year before,” Martin said.