The City of Parker has proposed a two-cent increase in the city’s property tax rate for 2018. While this is a 5-percent increase in the rate, it amounts to an 11-percent increase in what taxpayers will pay to the city, when compared to last year.
Since homeowners have seen their property values rise in 2018, an additional 5-percent increase in the city’s tax rate means taxpayers will see a dramatic increase in their city tax bill.
This double-digit tax hike is rightly concerning many local residents, including myself.
With this tax increase on existing taxpayers, and new properties added to the city’s tax rolls this year, the city’s total property tax revenues are projected to increase 18 percent from last year.
Unnecessary spending increases are driving this tax hike, with three main areas of expenditures being questioned by residents:
Payroll costs for non-public safety employees are rising too fast. When the fire and police departments are set side, the city’s non-public safety payroll costs are budgeted to increase by 25 percent, or $252,000, over the previous year. This hike in administrative costs is neither reasonable nor justifiable and should not be approved by the mayor and city council.
The proposed budget includes $187,159 for “Contingencies,” or for an emergency or unforeseen need. But if there is a contingency that arises unexpectedly during the next fiscal year, the council can fund it out of its reserves, which in FY 2017 was roughly $4.3 million — enough cash to operate the entire city for roughly 16 months. The city does not need to raise property taxes for any potential “contingency.”
Lastly, there is the issue of automobile purchases. I do understand the desire to have new vehicles; however, sometimes we should wait. The budget includes four new vehicles, which would cost $202,000. Why not stagger these vehicle purchases over time in a more fiscally responsible manner, like most cities do?
It’s not too late to tell city council to live within its means and not increase the property tax rate. In fact, with rising home values, council should be reducing the city’s tax rate, rather than increasing it.
The second public hearing on the city’s proposed budget and tax rate increase is scheduled for Tuesday, August 28, at 7:00PM at Parker City Hall.
Council’s final vote on the tax rate will be Tuesday, September 4, at 7:00PM at Parker City Hall.
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