WF City Council pass budget, hold taxes at bay for third straight year

WF City Council pass budget, hold taxes at bay for third straight year
Updated: Sep. 18, 2018 at 5:25 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - After six months of crunching numbers, long meetings, and budget workshops, Wichita Falls city leaders have come up with a budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

City leaders and staff are happy with the end result and said it could have ended much differently.

"The last three years our sales tax has been essentially flat as well as property taxes," District 4 City Councilor, Jesse Brown said. "If we did not have the growth we saw this year, which was one of the top three in the last 20 years, we would be in a different state today."

It is the third year in a row a Wichita Falls budget has been passed that did not include a tax increase.

"The takeaway from this is that we did not raise the tax rate any more than what was approved on May 5th by the voters," City Manager, Darron Leiker said.

"I'll challenge anybody to find another city in Texas or the nation that hasn't raised taxes in three years," Councilor Brown added. "And that's what we did today."

Taxes will still go up 2.39 cents. However, that is because of Proposition C, a bond proposition passed by the voters in May.

City employees will also be getting a three percent raise, something the city has not been able to provide in the last few years.

"I wish we could have done more because they deserve more," Leiker said. "But we're pretty pleased to be able to do the three percent and not have to increase the tax rate specifically for that."

"They're not even at average yet," Councilor Brown said. "But we're on the way. If we continue to see this growth, we can alleviate every issue that we have in the next five years."

City leaders were able to do that because of an unexpected rise in sales tax. If it continues councilors and staff are optimistic about what they can accomplish next year.

"It's an indication the economy here locally is doing very well," Leiker said. "We track that very closely on a monthly basis and we will watch that through the next fiscal year. Hopefully, we will be tracking the same or even a little better."

Councilor Brown said despite this being a good budget year, there's been a lot of miscommunication between the city council and staff and the public.

He urges anyone who has questions about the budget, or any city business, to reach out to them so your questions can be answered.

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