I have been following and studying the proposed 2020 city and county budget reviews. I have made presentations supporting the argument that the proposed tax rates need to be reduced both at city and county to offset the ever-increasing property appraisal valuation. Here is why?
The proposed city and county effective tax rates (the tax rate that would produce the same revenue as the preceding year) have been declining in the past five years. The lower effective tax rate is reflective of continued increases in property appraisals along with additional new developments (residential and commercial), plus the increasing sales tax revenue. However, the city and county proposed tax rates continue to trend upward above the effective tax rates drawing even more revenues. For 2020 budgets, the proposed city tax rate is 1.83 cents and county tax rate is 3.75 cents above effective tax rates respectively. The city budget leaves $3.49m cash over the required 90-day expenditure reserve by the end of September 2020. Similarly, the county budget leaves $9.6m cash reserve, while proposing the max tax rate close to the rollback rate (the threshold rate that require voter's approval if higher).
The data indicates the proposed adopted tax rates (city and particularly county) should follow the downward trend close to effective tax rates. The fact that this year is the last opportunity to raise the property tax rate up to 8% without voter’s approval (Next year the cap is lowered to 3.5%) should not be an excuse to burden taxpayers any further. The notion that our tax rates are lower than other communities is disingenuous, since any reduction gained from lower tax rates are wiped out by higher property valuations to the point that taxpayers end up paying more in tax dollars. The citizens do deserve lower tax rates.
Mo Saiidi September 9, 2019