By BILL PETERSON
Editor at Large
KYLE – City Councilmembers who have complained loudest about the extent of a proposed property tax increase deferred to the process Tuesday evening. The Kyle council thereby approved the first reading of a new tax rate of 37.31 cents to support a $33.3 million budget for Fiscal Year 2009.
The vote was unanimous, with Councilmember Ray Bryant absent.
However, the matter still isn’t settled. Councilmembers Lucy Johnson and David Wilson both said they thought an Aug. 28 workshop took good steps towards trimming the coming tax rate, which is increased 10.24 cents from the present rate of 27.07 cents per $100 of assessed value.
The council will meet for another tax and budget workshop on Sept. 9 before finally setting those matters at its Sept. 16 meeting.
Johnson said the council, for Tuesday night’s purposes, “should approve the tax rate and move the process forward.”
With only one workshop remaining before a final decision, however, time is running short for moving the process forward. Neither Johnson nor Wilson offered a proposal for cutting the budget at Tuesday’s meeting, perhaps opting to save their suggestions for next week.
Kyle City Manager Tom Mattis continued arguing not only that the city needs the full 37.31-cent tax rate, but that a trim of one or two pennies would offer little benefit to taxpayers while dramatically reducing the services they receive in the next year.
Mattis said the average Kyle residence valued at $133,960 would pay $499.80 in city property taxes at the 37.31 rate and $468.86 at 35 cents. The difference comes to $30.94, or about $2.50 per month in savings to the taxpayer, while it would require a trim of $281.846 from the budget.
Kyle residents weren’t exactly beating down the doors of city hall Tuesday night in a tax revolt. When the tax issue came up on the agenda, only long-time Kyle gadfly Jerry Kolacny spoke about the matter either way in public comment.
“Gasoline, energy and food prices are rising, while home values are falling,” Kolacny said. “It’s inappropriate to have a (budget) expansion at this time … I think the city has a responsibility to the taxpayers of Kyle to address what’s needed, not what’s wanted.”Email | Print