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Another North Texas city is considering using the Chinese coronavirus disaster as an excuse to bypass property tax reform and hit local taxpayers extra-hard while they’re down.

Waxahachie City Councilmember Melissa Olson warned constituents this weekend that a resolution to consider raising the city’s property taxes by 8 percent is on the agenda for Monday night’s council meeting.

Olson said some city officials want to use the same “disaster” loophole considered by Dallas City Council to skirt last year’s property tax reform legislation that lowered the limit on most cities’ annual tax revenue hikes from 8 to 3.5 percent, unless voters approve more:

“In short, during the last legislative session, in order to help residents with property tax reform, Senate Bill 2 was passed that would change that 8% to 3.5%. There is a loophole, however, that in times of a declared disaster, a taxing entity can go back up to the 8%.”

“I don’t think this is right,” Olson posted on her weekly blog for constituents:

“I think that in these unprecedented times, you don’t tax people at the maximum allowed by law.

 

“Passing this resolution will allow our rollback rate to be calculated at 8%, which is the OLD maximum that cities could tax before triggering an election. While it is legal under the law due to the emergency declaration by the Governor, people have suffered enough during the COVID-19 pandemic. I think it’s time for us to do right by the taxpayers and lower our rollback rate to the 3.5%, not only in the spirit of SB2, but because it’s the right thing to do.”

“Please be vigilant about what your city is doing right now,” Olson added.

Tonight’s Waxahachie City Council meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. The public can attend or watch via livestream. The agenda is posted on the city’s website.

Residents can speak on the potential property tax hike during public comments at the beginning of the meeting and may also contact councilmembers.