Wichita Falls City Council members are considering a $233.8 million budget for the next fiscal year. It’s a budget that benefits from more revenue from property and sales taxes.
At a workshop Tuesday, Wichita Falls city councilors learned the increase in property tax revenue results from an increase in property values – not a tax-rate hike. The additional revenue generated by increased property values amounts to $1,448,300.
Proposed reduction in property tax rate
The city’s finance director, Jessica Williams, said the proposed property tax rate would be a reduction of 6.6 cents per $100 valuation from the current budget. The city’s windfall would come from a record increase in the property tax base caused by a hot real estate market.
Increase in sales tax receipts
Another part of the city’s increased revenue would come from a projected increase in sales tax receipts, which Williams said are currently running about 9.8 percent higher in the current budget year.
“We collected over $5 million more in sales tax than we had budgeted for in prior budget,” Williams said.
She warned the sale tax picture might not stay so rosy.
“As continued inflation affects our local economy, we are likely to see some decrease in sales tax rates,” she said.
Water rate increase possible
Despite revenue increases, the proposed budget calls for a nine-percent increase in residents' water and sewer rates, largely to offset higher costs at the facilities. Williams said that means a monthly increase of about $5 for a typical residential user. It would be the first water bill hike in eight years.
The proposed budget includes a five-percent increase in employee salaries – 2.5 percent in a cost-of-living increase and 2.5 percent in merit raises.
It sets aside $17.9 million in surplus revenues for one-time expenditures and allocates $1 million for development of Lake Ringgold.
The city will conduct a public hearing on the budget Aug. 16 and the council will vote to adopt the budget Sept. 6.
This article originally appeared on Wichita Falls Times Record News: City councilors look at proposed property tax rate cut