Odessans’ voices fell on deaf ears Tuesday night as Odessa City Council unanimously passed a resolution opposing property tax reform after numerous residents spoke out against the measure.

At press time, Texas Scorecard received word that Republican State Rep. Brooks Landgraf, who represents Odessa, will support House Bill 2 as a co-author.

Odessa Board of Realtors CEO Connie Coots started off the public comments by speaking against the resolution, stating the council was falsely describing Senate Bill 2 and House Bill 2 as measures that would implement a “revenue cap.”

“There is nothing in this legislation that would cap or limit the city’s ability to generate revenue,” Coots said.

As written, the bills would implement an election trigger, requiring local governments to seek voter approval in order to raise the property tax rate over 2.5 percent.

This does not factor in additional tax revenue acquired from new properties. It also implements accountability measures relating to tax notices to the public and appraisal districts.

Coots went on to describe the conversation that realtors have with homeowners every day, as they see the effects high property taxes have on affordability.

Another resident to oppose city council’s resolution was Dottie Chavez, who asked council members to explain why they opposed property tax reform. Responding to Chavez, Mayor David Turner levied blame on the legislature, claiming that the state’s recapture program, known as “Robin Hood,” was responsible for the recent increase in the local school M&O property tax rate.

According to the Texas Education Agency, however, Ector County has only paid into Robin Hood in 2014 and 2015, in amounts that are relatively minimal compared to similar counties.

With numerous residents opposing city council’s resolution Tuesday and none supporting it, it raises the question as to whose interest Odessa council members have in mind: theirs or the taxpayers?

Matt Stringer

Matthew Stringer is from Odessa, TX and serves as a West Texas Correspondent for Texas Scorecard.

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