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Lubbock City Council Approves 2012-2013 Tax Rate and Budget

Cole Shooter,

At their meeting Thursday evening, the Lubbock City Council gave final approval to a tax rate increase and the budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year.

The 2012-13 tax rate has been set at 49.211 cents per $100 of home valuation, a 3.95 percent increase from 2011’s rate of 47.4 cents per $100 valuation.

For a home valued at $100,000, the homeowner will pay around $18 more in property taxes.

The upcoming City of Lubbock budget, which will begin on October 1st, includes a three-percent across the board pay increase for City employees, coming out to around $3.8 million dollars. Overall, the upcoming budget includes about $27 million in extra expenditures.

District 5 Councilwoman Karen Gibson offered an amendment to the budget, which will fund the City’s street maintenance program from tax-supported revenue certificates of obligation, as opposed to out of the stormwater fund, where it had been funded out of since the fund’s inception in 1992.

Moving street maintenance away from the stormwater fund will likely equal almost a one-cent tax increase in the Fiscal Year 2013-14 budget, though it will leave the 2012-13 budget unaltered.

Mayor Glen Robertson, the lone vote against this amendment, agreed with moving Street Maintenance away from the stormwater fund in principle, but disagreed with the timing.

“The reason I am very uncomfortable with this is because it is raising your taxes next year, and this is the first time you’ve heard about it, and that’s not right,” said Robertson. “I don’t want to spring a one-cent tax increase on the public without them having lots of opportunity to have input.”

District 6 Councilwoman Latrelle Joy offered an amendment which would have offered a three percent pay increase to City personnel, except for those that received any form of pay increase within the last fiscal year, including an increase for being promoted or increase of duties. Joy said her amendment would save about $70,000 in the budget. Her amendment failed 4 to 3.

District 3 Councilman Todd Klein suggested an amendment staving off pay increases for City employees and keeping the tax rate unchanged from Fiscal Year 2011-12, but the amendment failed to garner support from others on the Council.

The second amendment which Joy offered requires City Manager Lee Ann Dumbauld to obtain City Council approval for compensation increases for herself, assistant city managers, the chief operating officers, as well as the police and fire chiefs. That amendment passed 5 to 2, District 2 Councilman Floyd Price and Robertson dissenting.

The Council approved both the tax rate and budget with the aforementioned amendments for the upcoming fiscal year 4 to 3, Councilpersons Hernandez, Joy, and Klein voting against the measures.

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