Bowie city leaders move forward with possible tax rate increase

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - The proposed tax increase for Bowie residents is moving forward but is not official yet.

There are still two public hearings that need to happen first, but that did not stop citizens from voicing their concerns at Tuesday night's city council meeting.

The possible tax rate increase of $17.30 dollars more a year in taxes on a home valued around $100,000 was approved to move forward by all but three city leaders. Leaving it up to Mayor Scott Davis, who approved the motion.

Ricky Tow, the City manager of Bowie, had this to say about not having all the city council members on board.

"Definitely letting us know there are going to be some discussions on how to reduce some cost through the process," said Tow.

Reducing cost is something a lot of residents say they want to see.

"What's the city doing to really look at cutting cost to save us money rather than raise taxes," said one citizen. He adds, "Our streets are a mess, our utility rates are a mess, so many homes are now vacant people have moved away from this town, that hurts the city,"

An increase that will not be in the upcoming budget is raising the water and sewer rates.

"At this point, the current rates that we have been under is what we have put the numbers in for," said Town. "So pretty much staying stagnant on the water and sewer rates."

However, some citizens and council members are on the same page about one thing, working together.

"I encourage everyone to think and help our city officials and our citizens of Bowie, Texas," said one woman who spoke at Tuesday's meeting.

Terry Gunter, Mayor Pro Tem agrees.

"It's not the council against the citizens and that's what it appears to be like right now. we are here for you and we are here for the city of Bowie," said Gunter. "So we all got to get together on this."

City Councilor Doug Boyd said they are trying to fix the problems the town is facing but adds, they need time to come up with ideas.

"This is a great town and yeah we got problems, we got a screwed up electric rate," said Boyd. "But we have so many good things and we have so many nice people."

Ricky Tow said the bump in taxes would add an estimated $75,000 to the city's  general fund, that is if no exemptions are given to any residents. He said this money is needed to help with the city's drainage issues, to clean up the old Bellmire Nursing Home that caught on fire at the beginning of the year and some other unexpected expenses.

Tow also stressed this is a preliminary stage and adds while the rate could be lower than the proposed amount, it will not go up any more.

There will be two public hearings for the tax increase before city officials vote. Those are set for August 15 and September 5.

City council members also approved having a joint general election with Montague county, adding doing so will save them some money.

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