Alice City Council decided Wednesday to propose the 2018 tax rate not to exceed last year's rate of 53 cents, therefore not increasing property taxes.
First a failed vote was proposed of the effective tax rate .57702, which was motioned by Councilwoman Cynthia Carrasco and seconded by Mayor Pro-Tem Elida Garza. The vote was 2 – 2 with Councilman Pete Crisp and Councilwoman Yolanda Moran, voting against. Mayor Jolene Vanover broke the tie and voted against the effective tax rate.
“Asking our citizens for even only $47 (increase), It's a lot,” Crisp said. “It's hard for me to say let's go for the max when I don't even want to go for the minimum.”
“Any tax increase is the ultimate last,” she said.
Finance Director told the council they had a few choices.
“You have three choice, raise taxes, cut expenses or a combination of the two,” Rolando Ramos said. “Basically, we are one disaster away.”
Jim Wells County Appraisal District Sidney Vela gave an assessment of the taxes collected. He said overall there was a $64 million loss in property value which equates to $342,525 in actual dollars.
In a second motion, Crisp moved to propose instead a 53-cent tax rate, which is the current rate. Moran second the motion. When Mayor Jolene asked for a vote, Carrasco and Garza remained silent, therefore passing the motion with no opposition.
That means the council is obligated not to increase taxes. Not increasing the tax rate results in a deficit of about $1.1 million. City officials, in order to balance the budget, would need to find ways to cut – whether in employee salaries or cutting back in their already skeleton department budgets.
Next budget workshop is set for 3:30 p.m., Aug. 12 at City Hall council chambers.
The city has until Sept. 15 to adopt the budget.