WEST LAKE HILLS CITY COUNCIL WEIGHS TAX RATE INCREASE
Mayor says city needs to spend ‘serious money’ on maintaining infrastructure.
The West Lake Hills City Council is proposing a property tax rate increase to 6.5 cents per $100 of property valuation, up from 5.72 cents.
The proposed tax rate was approved for public notice during the July 26 council meeting, to be parsed in upcoming public hearings. Public hearings will take place Wednesday and Sept. 13.
The suggested tax rate is just below the “rollback” tax rate, or the rate increase at which residents could petition for an election on the tax rate, which is 6.52 cents.
Based on the average taxable value in West Lake Hills of $1,055,509, the average homeowner pays $603.75 in taxes. At the proposed tax rate of 6.5 cents per $100 property valuation, the average homeowner would pay $686.08 in taxes.
Mayor Linda Anthony said the proposal was not set in stone — the council has the option to decrease the proposed tax rate as the city moves through the budget process and hears from residents at public hearings. Anthony initially suggested the council consider a half-cent tax increase, up to 6.22 cents.
“We did not raise rates last year, and before that we raised them only a nominal amount for the first time in eight years the year before,” Anthony said. “Our infrastructure needs have shown that we really need to start spending some serious money on improving and maintaining our infrastructure . ... I know no one likes to hear we’re raising property taxes, but we also enjoy almost the lowest tax rate in the state with a good level of services . ... I think we owe it to our residents to maintain our city.”
Concerns were raised by council members that the state Legislature was considering decreasing the rollback rate even lower, a tactic City Administrator Robert Wood said might particularly punish cities that have been keeping their tax rates low.
The motion to approve the proposed tax rate for public notice was unanimous.