Petrolia: Budget Controversy

The City of Petrolia held a meeting Tuesday evening to approve the annual budget. Dozens of people gathered to voice their opinions in a public hearing discussion including former Petrolia Mayor, Jim Cline.

"My intentions are to bring up a lot of the government codes that are being violated and demand that it be adhered to" said Cline.

Cline spoke out and said the current elected officials are breaking numerous Texas State laws by leaving out details of a property tax increase.

"Texas law defines clarity. If you're going to have a tax increase, you can't do it secretively. You have to be open about it" he said.

According to a Texas law, a property tax increase must be laid out for residents to see 30 days prior to its voting on a cover sheet. But Cline says this cover sheet was nowhere in sight. Residents would find out about the tax increase when they received their bills in the mail.

"Unless somebody caught that itty bitty ad in the newspaper that says they were gonna increase the taxes, nobody reading the budget would know there was a tax increase" Cline said.

The former Mayor hopes this issue will encourage many residents to get involved with city government and keep a watchful eye on the budget.

"I'd like to see the public, the citizens of Petrolia come out to more meetings and see what's going on. Get a look for themselves how the budget is made and how decisions are made" he said.

When Newschannel Six reached out to current Petrolia officials, they were not available for comment.

After the public hearing was over, officials voted to approve the annual budget and property tax increase.

Cynthia Kobayashi, Newschannel Six.