San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

August 21st, 2008
Buda council trims tax rate proposal

By BILL PETERSON
Editor at Large

BUDA – In a city known for maintaining one of the lowest property tax rates in Texas, city councilmembers don’t know how they’re going to do it, but they know what they’re going to do.

The Buda City Council proposed a property tax rate of 22.5 cents per $100 of assessed value as he guaranteed maximum Tuesday night, meaning the council will have to find a way to trim ten percent of the staff’s proposed rate of 25 cents.

Either way, Buda residents are in for a property tax rate increase, but it’s a question of degree. The staff option would increase the present 18.7-cents rate by 6.3 cents, while the council’s proposal would increase it by 3.8 cents.

The city is in a property tax bind because sales taxes are expected to decline by $500,000 this year, down to $1.8 million from $2.3 million last year, while debt service payments on the next budget will increase by nearly $800,000.

Just to propose the 25-cents rate, Finance Director and Interim City Manager Sarah Mangham trimmed $1.1 million from the city’s general fund budget, cutting out one full-time position and eliminating numerous capital outlays for the streets and parks departments.

Now, there’s more to come.

“I will present options to the council about how to trim the budget,” Mangham said this week.

The city will conduct public hearings about the tax rate increase on Sept. 2 and Sept. 8. Based on an increase in Buda’s average taxable value for a homestead from $138,690 to $149,615 this year, the 22.5-cent tax rate would increase the average home’s city tax bill from $259.86 to $336.63.

In another development, the council replaced two members of Buda’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC), removing Abigail Klamert and Linda Costley in favor of Laurie Cromwell and William McAnelly. Klamert and Costly both applied for a new term. The council also renewed Patrick Kirby’s membership on the EDC.

McAnelly is the controller for ONTRA, Inc., an Austin financial management company. Cromwell served on the Hays CISD Board of Trustees from 1999 to 2005, the last three of those years as the board president. She also was a founding member of the Buda Area Chamber of Commerce (BACC). Kirby is the associate vice president for financial affairs at St. Edward’s University.

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