FREDERICKSBURG—Longtime Fredericksburg residents are being taxed out of their homes and are imploring their elected city officials for property tax relief.
Fredericksburg City Council members want to adopt the highest property tax rate allowed without having to get voters’ approval.
Residents want the city to spend less and tax less.
Several overtaxed citizens spoke against the city’s proposed budget for 2024 and the property tax increase needed to support the budgeted spending during a public hearing Wednesday night. The final budget and tax rate vote is next week.
“I’m counting the days when I may have to leave,” resident Jeannette Hormuth told council members at the hearing. “This budget needs to be controlled. It’s growing faster than people’s ability to pay.”
Hormuth said the city should budget based on population growth plus inflation, the standard used by the state.
She and others called on the city to cut spending and adopt the No New Revenue tax rate or lower. Any rate above the No New Revenue rate is a tax increase.
“I am very tired,” said 85-year-old Jerry McCorkle, a Fredericksburg resident of 22 years living on Social Security. “My concern is that my appraisal has gone up 22 percent. I pay more and more.”
Other retirees expressed the same concern and said they don’t want to pay for all the “extra stuff” in the budget.
“Government is not a profit-making enterprise,” said Tonya Benson, a Fredericksburg resident for more than 20 years who spoke against the proposed tax increase. “Voters and their families are adversely affected by every extra dollar taken to pay for the city’s budget.”
Benson listed several items in the proposed budget that are too expensive or unnecessary. She agreed that the responsible thing for the city to do is adopt the No New Revenue rate or lower.
Fredericksburg resident Annette Bennett challenged the council to reject the budget proposed by city administrators and offer a plan based on a tax rate 10 percent lower than the No New Revenue rate.
She said the proposed budget is not reflective of the economic reality in the city and country and noted that other Texas cities and counties have reduced their property tax rates.
After Wednesday’s hearing, Hormuth said that city council members can give tax relief to the people, while still fully funding all essential services and functions. “It is simply a matter of making the decision to do so.”