Waxahachie council approves budget, adopts tax rate
The Waxahachie City Council on Tuesday approved its budget and adopted its property tax rate for the 2021-22 fiscal year.
The approved general fund budget includes $52.8 million in revenue and transfers in, an increase from the original 2020-21 budget of $45.5 million, and $52.8 million in expenditures and transfers out, up from $45.4 million from last year.
Budget highlights include several infrastructure projects such as road repair on Graham and Chiles streets and the design for University Avenue. Parks expenditures include the master plan for Lions Park.
The budget will also provide more police officers and firefighters.
Mayor Doug Barnes touted the city’s balanced economy of residential, commercial and industry, which he said is important in sharing the tax load and keeping the tax rate low.
“We’re going to work diligently to keep our balanced economy,” Barnes said. “It’s good for the citizens, it’s good for the city.”
The tax rate will remain unchanged at $0.66 per $100 valuation. Of that, $0.4811 is for maintenance and operations, which includes $0.025 for the Sims Library. The interest and sinking (I&S) rate, or the debt service rate, is $0.1789.
A property owner’s tax bill may be higher than last year’s since property values are increasing. Chad Tustison, the city’s finance director, said since the tax rate is more than the no new revenue rate – the rate needed to bring in the same amount of revenue as the previous year – the language in the ordinance is required to state that there is a tax rate increase, in this case by 5.5 percent.
The owner of the average valued property in Waxahachie is expected to pay $1,542 in 2021-22, which is up from $1,438 in the current year.
Some residents spoke in favor of the proposed tax rate, saying that lowering it could lead to a reduction in services, while others said keeping it the same would hurt residents financially because of increasing property values.
Councilwoman Melissa Olson, who suggested during a public hearing last week that the city adopt the no new revenue rate or get closer to it, voted against the tax rate and the budget.
“At the end of the day when it came to whether I had to approve or not I couldn’t bring myself to approve the tax rate or the budget at this time,” Olson said.
She then requested that the 2022-23 budget be predicated on the no new revenue rate.
The council also approved the water and wastewater rates for 2021-22. The customer water and wastewater rates will remain unchanged.