The Reason Behind A Possible Tax Hike In Lubbock - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/7/06

The Reason Behind A Possible Tax Hike In Lubbock

NewsChannel 11 is learns where the money would be going, should the city increase its tax rate. We told you two weeks ago, that Lubbock city manager Lee Ann Dumbauld proposed a three cent tax rate increase. The proposal comes after three years of council voting to lower taxes to offset rising appraisal numbers.

NewsChannel 11's Jennifer Vogel obtained a copy of the city's budget which will be discussed at the city council meeting this Thursday. She explains why taxes might go up.

The budget shows exactly where costs have gone up. And basically, just like for us at home, businesses like the city of Lubbock are seeing inflation increases in energy costs, fuel, and health care.

During the last city council work session, Lubbock city manager, Lee Ann Dumbauld, proposed raising the city tax rate.  In the budget proposal for the fiscal year 2006-2007, Dumbauld defends her proposal by saying, "when the cost of services increase at a greater rate than the assessed value, it may be necessary to maintain the current rate or even increase the rate to continue to provide the same level of service the citizens have come to expect."

In the report, Dumbauld outlines the inflation costs that she believes the city should expect;

  • $2.29 million in healthcare costs, after the city cuts employee dental plans
  • $2.29 million cost of living raise for firefighters
  • More than $872,000 in salaries for new fire fighters and police officers
  • More than $651,000 for fuel inflation
  • $1.29 million in electricity, natural gas, water and wastewater
  • $1.42 million for new city vehicles and police cars
  • More than $472,000 for park maintenance and staff
  • $285,000 for new computers and healthcare for it's I.T. staff.

Dumbauld says a three cent tax increase is needed to continue these services. But city council members Jim Gilbreath and John Leonard told NewsChannel 11, it's not a revenue problem, it's a spending problem, and they want to cut before they raise.

We spoke with our Mayor and City Council members about their thoughts on raising taxes, and here is their opinion at this early stage: David Miller, Floyd Price, and Phyllis Jones are undecided until they get more information. Gary Boren, John Leonard, and Jim Gilbreath are against raising taxes at this point, and Linda DeLeon failed to return our phone calls to provide a comment.

Again, the city council will have their first reading on the tax proposal this Thursday, but it will not be a final deciding vote until the entire budget process is over, and a public hearing is held.

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