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Lubbock City Council Approves 2013-14 Budget, Tax Increase

Cole Shooter,

At their meeting Tuesday evening, the Lubbock City Council gave final approval to a new budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year and a higher tax rate.

The Council approved the second reading of the nearly $680 million budget 4 to 3, with Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson, District 3 Councilman Todd Klein, and District 6 Councilwoman Latrelle Joy voting against the budget.

Three amendments were successfully added to the budget prior to final passage which moved some funding to create two positions in the city’s building inspection department and adding funding to the City Attorney’s office and for fire department remediation.

Councilwoman Joy offered an amendment to add the $15 million in revenue bonds back to Lubbock Power & Light for smart meters, which was removed at the first reading of the budget. This amendment failed 4-3, with Robertson, Joy, and District 1 Councilman Victor Hernandez voting in favor of returning the bond funding item.

Robertson and Klein both said that they could not support a budget that includes a tax increase, and Joy opposing a three percent pay increase for all City employees, instead favoring a tiered raise system that would give a bigger raise to employees in lower pay grades

The Council also approved the second reading of a new higher tax rate as well.

The tax rate for the 2013-14 fiscal year has been set at 50.441 cents per $100 of home valuation, an increase of 1.23 cents over the rate of the current fiscal year.

This means that the owners of a $100,000 home will pay $12.30 more in property taxes to the City of Lubbock over last year.

Of the 50.441 cents, 35.848 cents go to City of Lubbock operations, 11.656 cents go to pay for the City’s debt load of more than $1.05 billion, and 2.937 cents go to economic development.

Of the 1.23 cent increase, 0.165 cents will go to operations and maintenance, 1.065 cents will go to debt service, and none of the increase will go to economic development.

The Council also chose to hold off on an item which would consider approval of appointing Interim City Manager James Loomis to the position of city manager, since some members of the Council were unable to attend the portion of their executive session where the item was initially discussed.

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