The City Council adopted the fiscal 2014 Budget in September. The budget includes a 5 cent increase in the property tax rate.

The current rate of 64 cents per $100 of assessed home value will increase to 69 cents effective Oct. 1. The City Council has not raised the tax rate in 10 years, and has lowered the rate four times in that period. The rate has remained at 64 cents for the last five years. The average taxpayer will pay less than $5 more per month as a result of the increase.

The new rate is necessary to fund $42 million in certificates of obligation – or bonds – that the City Council approved in July for nine capital projects, predominantly street improvements:

$15 million: City-wide Street Rehabilitation (over two years)
$3 million: Replacement of Fire Station No. 11
$2.5 million: Completion of South Park Drainage Relief Project
$1.5 million: City-wide Storm water Master Plan Study
$1.2 million: Completion of New Public Health Complex (supplements $7 million in federal funding)
$4.75 million: Magnolia Overlay from Fannin to East Gill
$2 million: Delaware Overlay from Concord to Dowlen Road
$4.5 million: New Senior Center to replace Best Year’s Center
$5 million: Riverfront Development and Improvements
$2.55 million: Contingency

“The City recently received results from a comprehensive street assessment, which showed that the average condition of our roadways is fair,” said City Manager Kyle Hayes. “We currently spend an average of $2.5 million a year on street rehabilitation. According to the study, we need to spend $5.6 million per year to maintain our streets= current condition, and in order to make progress, the City needs to spend approximately $7.5 million a year. This funding is necessary to make progress.”

In addition, current facilities housing Fire Station No. 11, the city’s Senior Center, and the Public Health Department are all in various stages of structural failure and require extensive ongoing maintenance. None of these buildings is optimal for their current use, and renovations are not feasible. This funding will allow the city to build or develop replacement facilities for these important services.

Projects to be funded from Airport Mineral Revenue

The street and other capital projects funded by the rate increase are in addition to five street projects slated for funding from roughly $47.8 million in oil and gas revenue from the Municipal Airport. Those projects include:
$29.5 million: Washington Boulevard, from MLK to I-10
$ 6.5 million: 7th Street from I-10 to Laurel Street
$ 5 million: Old Dowlen Road from Highway 105 to Dowlen Road
$ 6 million: Northwest Parkway from Folsom to Parkdale Mall
$800,000: towards Dowlen Road from Highway 69 to Delaware