RED OAK — The first of two required public hearings concerning the 2017-18 property tax rate was held by the Red Oak City Council via a special session Tuesday night.

“The proposed ad valorem tax rate of $0.649 per one-hundred dollars has not changed for the last eight years,” said now-former Red Oak Financial Director Miykael Reeve. The longtime finance director has since been sworn in to serve as the auditor for Ellis County.

“We are required to have public hearings because the proposed tax rate is above the effective rate, but it is below the roll back rate,” Reeve added. “[...] The effective rate is the rate calculated by the tax office to give us the same amount of revenue as the previous year. They take new values into consideration. We use the additional revenues from our same set tax rate to fund operations."

Before the public hearing, the council held a workshop to discuss the upcoming budget, as well as concerns over revenues and expenses.

Looking at revenues for the next fiscal year, Reeve projects a relatively flat year.

“We are projecting small increases for growth," she said. "We are being conservative projecting small increases in growth. Most growth Building permits and sales tax. Overall, we are taking on a plan for increases in our police and fire expansions. These are the majority of our revenues.”

“Overall we are not showing much growth other that a five percent growth,” Reeve added. “[...] We typically we look at areas where we are growing like sales tax. Projecting them. Starbucks coming in and other additional revenue sources that are building that we look at. Historically we project our growth from what we know is coming,”

“The majority expenses this year will be fire and police step plans. We have to do something to hire employees. Our goal this year was to make our pay competitive with area departments” Reeve continued.

Salary in other departments has also been included with increase plans.

The second public hearing on the tax rate and the general budget will be held on Sept. 11. At that time, the council will vote to adopt the budget. The adoption of the tax rate will come during a called meeting of the board on Sept. 18.