WAXAHACHIE

The Waxahachie City Council met Wednesday afternoon to host the first public hearing on the tax rate for the upcoming fiscal year and has no plans to raise or lower last year's $0.68 per $100 valuation.

Resident Gale Smith told the council she was not in favor of the current rate because residents are struggling to pay the tax bill on their homes.

“You stated that you have enough growth coming in because everyone wants to be here,” Smith said. “That should make up for that little cut and help us out a little bit.”

Mayor Kevin Strength stated the city is working to keep up with the growth and if the tax rate were lower infrastructure would suffer.

Smith replied to Strength, stating some unnecessary projects like the downtown amphitheater could be cut instead of paying tax dollars on them.

Strength explained to the audience the amphitheater is not being funded through property tax but through funds already designated for public improvement projects.

Melissa Olson, a council member, suggested at the July 25 budget meeting to lower the tax rate by a penny to provide residents with a slight tax relief due to rising appraisals in the area. When council members were asked for comment, Olson stated her view on the tax rate was “already known.”

Council member Chuck Beatty stated the city is going to continue to remain frugal and provide residents with the services they need with the funds available.

Mayor Pro Tem David Hill shared Beatty’s thoughts about the city’s current financial state.

“Even if we add 5,000 homes, we still have to supply sewer, water, police, and fire services and that costs," Hill said. "We are doing this without even raising the tax rate.”

The second public hearing on the tax rate will be at 7 p.m. Sept. 4 in the council chambers at city hall. The public hearing on the budget will be heard that night as well.

Adoption of the budget is set to take place at Noon Sept. 20 and starts Oct. 1. City hall is located at 401 S. Rogers Street in downtown Waxahachie.