Candidate says he will lower property tax rate
By BY PAUL POLASEK
May 10, 2012 at 12:10 a.m.
I am the current councilman for District 3 in the City of Victoria. I have served the citizens of Victoria two terms for a total of six years. Prior to being elected, I attended council meetings as an interested citizen for more than 10 years. If you live in District 3, you have the opportunity to help decide, on Saturday, whether or not I return to Council.
If I am re-elected, I will continue along the same path: long-term investments to infrastructure, gradual lowering of the property tax rate, continued support of economic development opportunities and improving quality of life. All of these things impact the long-term health of our community and opportunities for its citizens.
I was recently asked what were my specific goals should I be re-elected. I have two goals I would like to work towards. First, I would like to continue our progress of lowering the property tax rate. Second, I would like to make residential street repair a priority in the next several budgets.
The property tax rate set by City Council is used along with property values to assess the total city tax bill for our property owners. As most property owners are aware, recent years have seen a correction in property values. The Victoria Central Appraisal district by law must appraise properties as close to fair market value as possible. During the last decade, the state comptroller's office has strictly audited local appraisal districts, and if a district was found to be under-appraising property values, state funding could be withheld from local school districts. Consequently, property tax collections have risen. In my opinion, it is the City Council's duty to attempt to lower the property tax rate slowly to ease some of the property tax burden.
We are very fortunate in Victoria to be in the midst of a robust local economy that has led to increased sales tax revenue. My plan would be a balanced approach to slowly offset the property tax rate with sales tax revenue. The challenge to taking a balanced approach is that sales tax can be volatile, so there is inherent risk associated with this. One way to mitigate the risk is to set aside some of the additional sales tax revenue money into our savings account, called the general fund, to guard against sales tax volatility. I believe this can be accomplished steadily, over the next few years.
Our residential street maintenance program funding has not been made enough of a priority by the city council in recent years. I have spoken with numerous staff members and former elected officials who have all reminded me that if we do not keep up with this maintenance, it will be a much bigger problem than we realize. I propose we amend our current budget to add some of the additional sales tax revenue towards residential streets, this will be a good start and we must continue this for the foreseeable future.
District 3 voters, I am asking you to re-elect me so that I can continue my efforts and keep moving our city forward. I appreciate your careful weighing of your choices and your vote. Thank you for investing in Victoria's future.
Paul Polasek is the incumbent for Victoria's City Council District 3. He can be reached at 361-485-0004, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.