The Waxahachie City Council has scheduled two public hearings on the proposed 2008 tax rate.

During its meeting Monday, the council set the hearings for Monday, Aug. 27 and for Tuesday, Sept. 4, allowing the public the opportunity to comment.

City Finance Director Carl Wessels informed the council Monday the city is proposing a tax rate of .615 per $100 assessed value — the same as this year’s tax rate.

The council will have their first look at the proposed budget next Monday during a special called budget retreat. At that time, the council may adopt or amend both the budget and tax rate.

Even though the proposed tax rate is unchanged, under law, the city is required to hold two public hearings if the proposed tax rate calls for an increase in city spending over the previous year.

With the tax rate unchanged, Wessels said new growth and increased property valuations will result in approximately $600,000 more in property tax revenue for the 2008 fiscal year.

Wessels explained the effective tax rate — or the rate needed to achieve the same revenue as the current fiscal year — would be .581791 per $100 assessed value.

He said holding the tax rate steady at .615 per $100 assessed value is still well below the rollback rate of .642770 per $100 assessed value. The rollback rate is the level at which the citizens may petition for an election to change the rate.

New Taco Bell

In other business, the council approved a site plan to demolish the existing Taco Bell restaurant located at 602 Highway 77 North and make way for a new prototype restaurant.

Dennis L. Durrett of Plaza Dine, Inc., informed the council the new Taco Bell restaurant will be a more efficient, modern restaurant that will also be more attractive.

“The current facility is old and out-of-date,” he said.

Durrett said that because the new restaurant will be located on the existing site, the store will be closed approximately 90 days during demolition and construction.

Sports complex

contract

The council also approved a contract with Dunkin, Sims and Stoffels, Inc. for design services at the Waxahachie Sports Complex.

In a bond earlier this year the council approved funds to complete Phase II of the sports complex.

The contract approved Monday calls for the firm to design the expansion and improvements in Phase II of the project, which will be outlined by the Waxahachie Community Development Corporation and approved by the council.

While plans have yet to be finalized, an outline of Phase II of the project calls for the addition of four baseball fields, additional parking and existing parking improvements and additional concession and restroom facilities.

In working with the Waxahachie Independent School District, which is currently building a new junior high school campus on land adjacent to the sports complex, the project may also call for a track to be built around the existing football field.

Under a previous agreement, the district will have shared use of the facility.

Should final plans include the addition of the track, the approximate $800,000 cost for that portion of the project would be shared between the city and WISD.

E-mail Neal at neal.white@waxahachiedailylight.com