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Several Residents Voice Opposition to Tax Changes at Public Hearing

The proposed increase is about one cent more than the current tax rate.  City officials say an average property owner with a $100-thousand home would pay about $10 more per year.
    Texas law requires municipalities to host two public hearings before officials consider a new property tax rate that would generate additional revenue.
    And while no one signed up to speak at the first meeting, the second meeting was a different story.
    Tim Ingle, District 4 councilor, says, "Many of the people that talked gave some good points about how people are hurting."
    J.P. Stade, a Wichita Falls resident who's concerned about the proposed property tax increase, says, "I've watched my discretionary income vaporize as I have to pay for food, gasoline, diesel, and electricity."
    Jean Hall also voiced her opinion, and says, "I am strongly opposed to tax increases. I think tax increases in general are a bad idea, especially in tough economic times. It's irresponsible to be raising taxes now."
    Mary Stade, who's also concerned about the proposed increase, says, "I would suggest the city find some place else to come up with the money."
    Though some argued that perhaps officials haven't been good stewards of city funds, Mayor Glenn Barham said that's not true.
    He said one way councilors and officials are trying to save city dollars is by eliminating dumpsters in the city, an ordinance which councilors approved at last week's meeting.
    Russell Schreiber, Wichita Falls public works director, says, "Once the entire city is converted to curbside collection, we do anticipate a $302,000 to potentially a $500,000 annual savings in the solid waste division."
    The proposed increase would generate a revenue of about $460-thousand, which would be used for three projects: paying the debt for a new Municipal Airport terminal; hiring a crew to mow state highways after the state reduced moving services to three times per year, and upgrading code enforcement issues.
    Councilors will vote on the proposed budget, including the tax increase, at next week's meeting.
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