The Midlothian City Council heard four speakers Tuesday during its first public hearing for the fiscal year 2018-19 budget and tax rate. All four speakers and one non-speaker opposed maintaining the current tax rate.
After deliberation at their budget workshops throughout July and August, the council has elected to maintain the current tax rate at .708244 per $100 valuation. According to the public hearing notice, the proposed budget would raise total property taxes to $4.7 million, a 22.42 percent increase from the previous year's budget. City Manager Chris Dick said much of that revenue would be used for personnel funds as well as road rehabilitation.
Nevertheless, citizens spoke against the proposed tax rate, pointing to surrounding cities’ cheaper tax rates and questioning why Midlothian’s rate could not decrease as well.
“Of our surrounding cities, we are dead-on with Mansfield,” resident Tiffany Carra noted. “Waxahachie, Red Oak, some of those are lower. I just don’t see a reason why we can’t lower the tax rate at least a little bit if not for the fact that we’re bringing in so many more dollars and offering not really many more services.”
While the tax rates for Waxahachie and Red Oak are at .68 and .649 per $100 valuation respectively, Place 3 Council Member Jimmy McClure said that is because those cities are well-established, whereas Midlothian has many renovations that it has yet to go through.
“We are a much more growing city than Waxahachie,” McClure explained. “They are basically all built out. Their infrastructure and streets all built out. We’re in the process of doing that ourselves.”
Place 2 Council Member Mike Rogers said he wanted to explore at least the possibility of what a 2.5 cent decrease would look like in the fiscal year 2018-19 budget. Place 6 Council Member Art Pierard asked Dick to outline a rough draft of a revised budget so the council could review it next week.
Dick said the department would accommodate the best to their ability by the next hearing. He then notified the council that the most substantial cuts would come from personnel services.
The council will hold the next public hearing on the tax rate during the regular meeting on Sept. 4. The council will vote on the tax rate and proposed budget on Sept. 11.
David Dunn, @DavidDunnInTX