Tis the season for government budget sessions. Meaning Midland property owners will likely be looking at yet another tax increase for the next fiscal year.

While additional budget sessions and public hearings are still looming, Midland city staff have proposed a property tax rate of 41.1052 cents per $100 valuation (a 3 percent increase above the effective rate) and a general fund budget of $111,804,267 (a $5,361,207 increase from this year’s budget). If adopted, the new tax rate would generate approximately $3.7 million more in property tax revenue for the city.

Unfortunately, local residents aren’t strangers to higher property tax bills. Since 2012, Midland City Council has developed somewhat of a “standard” tax increase- 3 percent above the effective tax rate. The effective rate is the rate that would provide the city with the same amount of revenue from the same properties as the year before, based on changes in property valuations. What it does not take into account is new taxable properties. In other words, if Midland were to adopt the effective tax rate, it would not only generate the same property tax revenue as the year before, but it would gain additional funds from new properties added to the tax rolls.

By simply following this self-imposed standard of adopting a rate 3 percent over the effective tax rate, the city has managed to give itself a $12.94 million raise from property tax revenues alone over the course of three fiscal years.

The proposed 2017-2018 city budget adjusts for a net increase of 5 new positions, a 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment for all staff, and additional personnel salary increases and incentives. It also increases funds for water and sewer infrastructure ($9.8 million), street maintenance and improvements projects ($560,937 and $4.8 million, respectively), new vehicles and equipment ($5 million), drainage improvements ($440,000), and traffic control operations ($250,000).

City Council’s next budget meeting will be held on August 1 at 10am on 300 N. Loraine St. (City Hall).

Lauren Melear

Lauren Melear leads the West Texas Bureau of Texas Scorecard. When not working, Lauren enjoys spending time with her husband and their dog, as well as cooking, working out, traveling to the hill country, and cheering on the fightin' Texas Aggies.