Lubbock City Council will hold a public tonight to give citizens a chance to voice their concerns over the upcoming year's budget.
The multi-million dollar budget will go into effect in two months, but first the city wants to hear from the community on how that budget should be used. "The Citibus issue, the Health Department issue, those are just two of the many issue that we'll have discussions on between now and the adoption of the budget on October 1st," said councilman Paul Beane.
Just recently the city proposed to cut funding to Citibus transportation, and if passed the routes would be cut to every hour instead of every 30 minutes. A heated debate last week has since prompted city council to look for other ways to deal with budget cuts. "Right now we're looking at trying to find a few extra 100,000 dollars to make sure the buses run a 30 minute schedule in the mornings and afternoons," said Beane.
Also on the chopping block to help save the city money is the Health Department. An extension last Thursday will keep the department open for another three months so the city can decide whether to shut it down and outsource its health programs. "We're going to continue to talk about things like STDs, and talks about immunizations… all of those things are continuing discussions," Beane said.
While city programs will feel the pinch, so will your pockets at home. "It's my understanding that our water rates are going to go up. I've not decided how I will vote on those water rates," said Beane. The reason? The city's recent $33 million water purchase from T. Boone Pickens.
Property taxes will also be increased after voters approved the hike during the November election to help improve roads and build new fire stations.
Bottom line, Beane says if you want to see changes, he wants to see you at the hearing. "Your station recently ran a poll that said more than half the voters would be interested in paying more taxes to support the health department, and so I'm interested to see how many folks are going to show up tomorrow night and ask the city to raise their taxes," said Beane.
Anyone can sign up to speak at the hearing. It starts at 6:00 p.m. Monday night at the city council's chambers located at 1625 13th Street.
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