The Lubbock City Council has approved a budget for fiscal year 2002 - 2003 which will be put to use October 1st, 2002. The budget passed 7 - 0 on its first reading on Thursday, and must now pass on its second reading on September 17th.
The budget includes a 5% raise for police officers and firefighters and addresses a number of other public safety and quality of life issues. Among those issues, the addition of two librarians to the city's library system, two additional animal control officers, increased spending for street weed control, and 3% to 4% raises for all city employees. Council members say the budget boosts services that protect the public safety and integrity of neighborhoods, and promotes the literacy of our citizens.
The budget does not, however, include a reduction in the property tax rate. Councilmen Tom Martin and Gary Boren pushed for a 1 cent property tax rate decrease because of extremely high property tax appraisals this year. However, the motion to reduce the tax rate was defeated 5 to 2. Council members who voted against it say it would have been extremely difficult to balance the budget had the tax cut been passed.