The Lubbock City Council heard preliminary information from City staff regarding the fiscal year 2012-2013 budget and tax rate at their meeting this week.

The proposed 2012-2013 property tax rate is 49.211 cents per $100 home valuation, up 1.811 cents from 2011’s 47.4 cent rate, and up 3.594 cents from 2010’s rate of 45.617 cents.

For the City of Lubbock, the preliminary total net taxable value is $13,100,000,000, and the anticipated levy amount is $60,105,636.

For a home valued at $100,000, citizens would pay around $18 more in property taxes for the City if the Council approves this tax rate for the impending fiscal year.

In the proposal, the operation and maintenance portion of the tax rate could increase from 2011’s 34.2 cents to 35.616 cents, resulting in a 1.416 cent increase in that section, and a 0.444 cent increase to the interest and sinking fund portion, raising it to 10.644 cents. The economic development rate could decrease slightly to 2.951 cents, down from 2011’s 3 cents.

During the budget discussion, Cheryl Brock, budget director for the City of Lubbock, said that much of the maintenance and operation increase is for 15 new firefighters for the City to staff Fire Station No. 18, which was approved by voters in a previous bond. The interest and sinking rate increase is attributed to the impact of additional debt related to 2009 bond impact, and the total increase of the additional debt is somewhat offset by decreases in other tax supported debt and the use of the debt service fund balance.

A proposed 3 percent pay increase for some City employees could be paid for out of enterprise funds, with the same increase for others coming out of the City’s general fund or from a department’s respective fund. The total cost of the employee raises is projected to be around $3.8 million, with $2.5 million coming from the general fund.

The City has cut three administrative positions, and due to sizable grant reductions from the local library system, four positions have been eliminated from that department as well.

No increases have been proposed for residential and commercial stormwater rates.

These numbers are merely projections which staff used to create a budget. They will not be able to calculate a real effective rate and rollback rate until the chief appraiser certifies the appraisal roll, which will be completed by July 25th.

Mayor Glen Robertson directed the staff and Council to hold at least three work sessions to discuss the budget and tax rate.

The effective tax and rollback rates, unencumbered fund balances, and the debt obligation schedule must be published by August 7th.

Lubbock Power and Light is also requesting a rate increase, but this current budget projection was created without considering that particular rate hike.

The first public hearing regarding the tax rate will be held at the Council meeting on August 23rd beginning at 6:15 p.m. at City Hall, and the second public hearing will be held on August 30th at a special City Council meeting, along with the budget public hearing. The council will consider the first reading of the Budget Ordinance and Tax Levy Ordinances following the public hearings at the August 30th meeting, which will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Final consideration of the ordinances will be carried out at the regular City Council meeting on September 13th, and the last day to adopt the 2012 tax rate is September 15th.