In an effort to encourage participation by community members in the local tax adoption process, Midland City Councilmembers are going above and beyond their legal obligations.

Midland City Council meets twice a month at 10am at City Hall and, historically, have held public hearings for tax rate increases at the same time. However, after an initial hearing held last week for the FY 2017-18 tax rate proved to be a flop in terms of community attendance, councilmembers decided to reevaluate the schedule.

In addition to a 10 a.m. public hearing scheduled for Tuesday, August 22, a third hearing has been scheduled for 6 p.m. in order to offer a time more conducive to working residents. The proposed tax rate to be discussed is 40.8389 per $100 valuation – or a 3 percent increase over the effective tax rate.

According to state law, local taxing entities are only required to hold two public hearings prior to adopting a property tax rate over the effective rate. This gives residents a chance to voice their opposition, support, or ask questions. Unfortunately, most public hearings are held during the week between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. – putting taxpayers at an inherent disadvantage.

While it would be helpful to schedule all open meetings and public hearings after 5 p.m. in order to encourage community participation, Midland City Council has taken a positive step by offering more opportunities for public involvement than required by state law. Now, it’s up to Midlanders to utilize it.

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.