Vernon Tax Hike? - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Vernon Tax Hike?

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Vernon city commissioners held a special session Thursday to discuss a proposed hike on property tax.

Emotions were high inside Vernon city hall Thursday night as city commissioners held a special meeting to discuss a possible 6.4 percent property tax increase.

A Vernon business owner of 20 years said, "I feel like I know my business and my renters cannot take an increase."

"I don't know how to explain it any better than, our expenditures are here and our revenue is here. There’s no way we can go here, there's no way we can go here. We must go here," said one Vernon city commissioner.

"I hate to see anyone lose their jobs are have to take a pay cut," said a concerned Vernon resident.

For about 45 minutes, city commissioners heard a plea from residents, business owners and city employees on how the increase might affect them.

“The rate increase, it's a big number. We know that it will not only affect us as employees but homeowners as well,” said a concerned Vernon city worker.

Currently the city's property tax is around 0.3 percent. City commissioners said the property tax hike is needed to increase revenue.

One Vernon resident asked city commissioners, “Why does this have to be such a broad cut?"

The city said they are lacking in revenue from water and the ongoing drought, like many other Texoma towns has forced them to make some tough decisions.

For an hour and a half, Mitch Grant, Vernon city manager went over five different scenarios in which the city could cut expenditures.

Some of those would include: combining certain departments, making operational cuts, raising sewer and water rates by 15- percent and cutting jobs through attrition.

“I will vote for a tax increase if it puts the city on even feet," said one city commissioner.

Jimmie Johnson, Newschannel 6