Victoria staff propose tax increase to pay for street work

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

June 8, 2014 at 1:08 a.m.
Updated June 9, 2014 at 1:09 a.m.

Victoria City Council is at odds over a proposed tax increase.

The increase would fund a new street sweeping program as well as a 3 percent pay raise for city employees.

If approved, the increased would add $9 in taxes to a $100,000 home.

However, Councilman Jeff Bauknight is looking at ways to trim the budget to keep the tax rate at 59.96 cents and avoid increasing to the proposed 60.86-cent rate.

"I'm definitely looking for some way to get taxes back down and get these residential streets back in order," Bauknight said Friday during a budget workshop.

With property appraisals estimated to increase 8 percent, Bauknight said, the goal is to have healthy economic development so a larger tax base would lessen the overall tax burden.

Finance director Gilbert Reyna said the city is already benefiting from growth, which is valued at $109 million.

The increased tax rate would bring in an additional $1.4 million, Reyna said. The preliminary budget totals $50.3 million, a $1.29 million increase during the last year.

"From a management and my perspective, this is a sound plan to get everything accomplished," Reyna said.

City Manager Charmelle Garrett said if the council chooses to keep the current tax rate, the city would have to cut back the street sweeping program, which Bauknight said he would support.

"We're trying to be very frugal with tax dollars," Garrett said.

Councilman Tom Halepaska commended the staff for laying out projects that need to be completed.

"We've got maintenance staring us in the face that has been deferred," he said. "I'd like to address it sooner than later. The longer we defer it, the more it costs."



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