The Wichita Falls City Council is putting taxes on the table this budget season. Tough talks about the financial plan could end with your taxes going up.
At Tuesday morning's City Council meeting, District 1 Councilor Michael Smith said, "I'm looking forward, I know, into the next month or so as we look at this and try to find what's best for the city."
Smith seemed to be open to anything that will bring the city more money. He said, "There comes a time, even in the midst of economic problems when you have to say are we going to do the things that are required to allow this city to run at its best for our citizens and the taxpayers?"
And raising taxes isn't out of the question. "There comes a time when you have to invest in what you're doing, you can't just continue to hold the line, hold the line, and think that things are going to get better it just doesn't happen."
Newschannel 6 dug back 10 years to find out just how steadily the city has been holding that line:
- Taxes didn't change at all between 2002 and 2008, holding steady at 59 cents.
- Then from 2008-2009 there was a small bump of 3/10 of a cent.
- From 2009 to 2010, Councilors approved a tax hike of 1 cent.
- The last tax increase, from 2010 to 2011 was for 2 cents. Putting us at just over 62 cents for the last two years.
Reasons given for those increases include the cost of healthcare and gas going up, the closing of Saint Gobain Vetrotex, and increased funding for street improvements.
One Falls resident we spoke with said, "I don't see a lot of improvement around the town, putting back into the community. I mean, we can help on a lot of things instead of building new roads or downtown and stuff. If its going to go to something it needs to go to kids the future pretty much."
Mayor Glenn Barham spoke with Newschannel 6 about the budget last week and his sentiment is shared by many of the city councilors. He said, "If the citizens if any of you have any input in regards to this please let us know."
With the budget set to be finalized by the second meeting in September, there's plenty of time to get in touch with your city councilor to voice your concerns.