Tax rate adoption set, rollback possible

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The second of two public hearings required before the city can finalize its tax rate and budget was set Tuesday night due to the Labor Day holiday on Monday.

A proposed city tax rate that exceeds the rollback rate has drawn mixed reviews from residents. While some ask what they will be getting for the extra money, others argue funds are needed to do infrastructure maintenance before deterioration gets a foothold on a fast-growing city with increasing new services needed.

Even though it is lower than last year’s tax rate, the proposed rate of 68.12 cents per $100 of valuation is a 2.7 percent increase over the effective rate, or that which would generate the same revenue as the year before from the same properties.

What the proposed rate means for homeowners is a home valued at $187,000 that grew 10 percent in value this year and receives a $5,000 homestead exemption would be taxed at $1,367.

Key areas of focus in the upcoming budget are vehicle fleet upkeep and replacement, community development staffing and fund balance, City Manager Clay Pearson said.

“We’re just at our minimum fund balance and that doesn’t feel good at all,” he said.

“It’s maybe not a lot of fancy things, but (the budget) is taking care of business and holding this together in priority areas,” he said.

At the first public hearing, one resident asked about how a rollback election process would work, and staff later answered the question. To trigger a rollback election, a petition with 7 percent of registered voters, or approximately 4,600 signatures, would be presented within 90 days of adoption of the tax rate. Those signatures would be validated before an election would be called.

A first reading to adopt the budget and tax rate is expected next Monday, Sept. 12, with a final reading on Sept. 19. For more information, visit pearlandtx.gov.

Story by Nicole Jones

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