How do residents feel about proposed tax rate hike?

October 5, 2018

Pasadena residents are giving various reactions to a proposed 4 cent increase in the city’s property tax rate.

Mayor Jeff Wagner said the council will vote on the proposed tax rate of of 61.5 cents per $100 valuation at 3 p.m. Oct. 9 and at 6 p.m. Oct. 16 at City Hall, 1149 Ellsworth.

At the Oct. 2 public hearing on the proposed rate, Pasadena resident Larry Peacock referenced a previous proposed increase by the city.

“A short year ago, you asked for a one cent (increase to the rate),” Peacock told Wagner. “And you rejected that, yet you still collected more than $2 million in revenue because of (increased property values through) Harris County Appraisal District. Why do we need 4 cents one short year later? That doesn’t make any sense.”

Peacock referenced the council’s recent decision to renew a contract with companies within the city’s industrial district. He said the city is giving those companies a break while increasing the tax burden on Pasadena residents.

At that and a Sept. 18 hearing, three other residents told council that they hoped officials would not approve the proposed rate increase, including one man at a Sept. 18 hearing said the proposed increase will combine with the impact of rising property values to impact residents’ pocketbooks.

Another resident, Lynn Haver, who has lived in Pasadena 35 years, has mixed feelings about the proposed increase.

“I think the city could use the money,” said Haver, who lives close to Texas 225 and Allen Genoa in an older part of the city.

“I think we could use the money for sewer lines; it’s terrible when the sewer backs up when it rains.”

“We get passed over,” she said of her area. “Everything that comes to Pasadena comes to the Fairmont area. Everything has closed over here to reopen over there.”

The council voted 6-3 on Sept. 18 to approve the city’s budget, which is based on the proposed tax rate. The budget includes a general fund balance of $41.6 million and an estimated $112 million in revenues and expenditures.

The budget provides for hiring 33 police officers, which would cost $1.7 million, or $51,500 per police officer, according to the latest city budget documents. A motion by Cody Ray Wheeler to provide a 3 percent raise for employees was not approved.

One of those voting in favor of the tax rate increase was Phil Cayten, who said that Pasadena has not increased the city tax rate in 35 years in the face of rising expenses. He said the city has a lower rate than some surrounding communities.

But Sammy Casados was among those who voted against approving the budget to protest the proposed tax increase, saying it would put a burden on taxpayers while the city would draw in an additional $2.8 million in property tax revenues compared to last year just from increasing home values.

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