City councilors voted by a 5-2 vote to adopt a higher proposed property tax rate now, before the budget is officially set next month.
Leaders said this does not mean the increase will actually happen, but they want to have the ability to raise the property tax rate in case of an unforeseen major expense between now and when the tax rate and budget are officially set.
In order to have the ability to change the tax rate within the next month before the budget deadline, state law requires the city to pass a resolution.
The current tax rate is about 70 and 1/2 cents per $100 dollars. The resolution gave them the ability to raise that rate within the next month to 76 cents.
However, the mayor said they do not anticipate the rate changing, but they want the flexibility in case of, for example, a huge liability or insurance claim. Without the higher rate, that could leave them with the only option a drastic increase in employee insurance or fees.
“Will the tax rate be the seventy six cents? I seriously doubt that it will be. Will it be the current tax rate? More than likely, but we wanted to have some leeway there in the event something came up,” Wichita Falls Mayor, Glenn Barham, said.
Even without an increase in the current rate, the city’s tax revenue will go up because property value is going up.
The tax rate will be voted on on September 20, and public hearings are set for September 6 and 13.