Victoria City Council adds $5.4 million to proposed budget for street projects

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

Aug. 28, 2012 at 3:28 a.m.

Homeowners in Victoria stand to see savings on their property tax bills.

Victoria City Council gave its first formal approval Tuesday evening to the new tax rate and budget.

The proposed rate is 60.56 cents for each $100 of taxable property value, down from the current rate of 64.5 cents per $100 valuation.

The new rate would cost the owner of a $100,000 house about $605.60, a savings of $39.40 over the current rate if that home value stayed the same.

Councilman Joe Truman applauded staff for presenting a lower rate.

"I commend staff on coming to the effective tax rate," Truman said. "It's incredible, and a wonderful thing to see."

Finance Director Gilbert Reyna presented the budget.

"Like all budgets, they're kind of a working document," he said. "You have to look at it, massage it."

This year's total revenue is $129 million, of which $20.4 million came from property taxes.

The city of Victoria expects to collect $133 million in total revenue for the upcoming budget, of which $20.5 million will come from property taxes.

Council approved several amendments to the proposed budget Tuesday, which bring expenditures to $143.4 million and require dipping into the general fund reserves.

The largest increases were for capital street projects including Phase 2 of the downtown overlay project costing $1.52 million and $1.2 million to improve Leary Lane.

However, if sales tax revenues dip, capital street projects could be the first to be cut, said City Manager Charmelle Garrett.

"That funding is a big assumption on sales tax revenue staying up," she said. "If we have a big decrease in that, we'll revisit the CIP (capital improvement projects)."

The council was expected to move forward with a decision of whether to privatize yard, bulky and brush waste pick up, but that was put on hold.

The budget was presented with those two services privatized, which would result in a reduction in staff and a 98-cent rate increase to customers.

Reyna will present an amended budget at Tuesday's meeting that would keep both services under the city, at an increased cost of 70 cents to customers.



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