Lancaster City Council Approves Budget and Tax Rate for 2023-24 Fiscal Year

Lancaster City Council

At this past Monday’s meeting, the Lancaster City Council approved the city’s budget and new tax rate for fiscal year 2023/24. Lancaster City Manager Opal Mauldin-Jones read the final budget numbers to the council: “The budget for all funds, including the city’s Economic Development Corporation, is $87,143,558 based on a proposed tax rate of .639004 for every $100 of assessed valuation.”

No citizens spoke at the final public hearing Monday night, but before the vote, District 2 Stanley Jaglowski commented on both the budget and the city’s proposed tax rate, saying, “I just wanted to say that this budget contains everything the citizens have been voicing and expressing their concerns and desires about. I want to congratulate the staff for putting forth yet another sustainable budget this year that this city deserves.”

District 5 Mayor Pro Tem Mitchell Cheatham, who was not in attendance, emailed a letter of his approval, which was read aloud by the city secretary at the meeting. Cheatham said he asked many questions about the budget before deciding on his vote.

“In no way is this a fix to all of our many problems, but it is a giant step in the right direction. With that said, I would like it to be known that I am in support of the proposed budget. To these citizens of Lancaster, supporting this budget is an acknowledgment that your concerns have been heard.”

District 1 council member Carol Strain-Burk made the motion to approve, and it passed unanimously.

A public hearing for an ordinance regarding the proposed revenue increase from levying ad valorem taxes for fiscal year 2023/24 at $0.639004 per one hundred dollars assessed valuation of all taxable property within the corporate limits to provide revenues for current maintenance and operational expense and interest and sinking fund requirements came next. This also included the provisions of a homestead exemption and disability exemption.

Opal Mauldin-Jones said, “The city is proposing a reduced tax rate 2024 at $0.639004 per one hundred dollars assessed valuation of all taxable property to be apportioned with .484072 cents of that for maintenance and operation, which includes .025 cents for street maintenance and .025 cents for equipment and .154932 cents for interest and sinking fund requirements. This is effectively a .658% increase in the tax rate.”

One speaker on this item asked about the corporate industries coming to the city. She said she thought this would help with the taxes, yet there is still an increase.

Stanley Jaglowski motioned to approve the city’s new tax rate, which passed unanimously.

The final item on the agenda was a resolution ratifying the fiscal year 2023/2024 budget to increase revenues by 15.42% from property taxes over the previous year.

As of September 1, 2007, several laws went into effect, including House Bill 3195, as passed by the 80th Legislature. The Bill requires cities to post their preliminary and adopted budgets on their website.

The bill also requires cities and counties raising more revenue from property taxes in the preceding year to have a separate vote of the governing body to ratify the tax increase reflected in the budget.

The new fiscal year budget and tax rate results in an increase in revenues by 15.42%, the percentage which the tax rate will be higher than the no-new revenue tax rate calculated under Chapter 26, Tax Code from property tax compared to the previous year.

Carol Strain-Burk motioned to pass this item, and it passed unanimously.