Midlothian Council Fails to Approve Proposed New Tax Rate

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Midlothian City Hall
Midlothian City Hall Staff Photo

Public hearing and vote regarding the tax rate meeting is on September 20th at 4 p.m. at City Hall

MIDLOTHIAN – In a record vote that needed 60% to carry the new tax rate being proposed for the fiscal year 2022/2023, the Midlothian City Council failed to approve an item calling for the levying and assessing municipal ad valorem taxes for the city at $0.340590 for Maintenance and Operations and $0.309410 for Interest and Sinking Funds, for a total of $0.650000.

This is a .2 ½ cent difference from the tax rate that was set last year.

Midlothian City Manager Chris Dick said the motion that is called must read “I move that the property tax rate be increased by the adoption of the tax rate of .65, which is effectively a 9.08 increase in the tax rate.”

Place 2 Councilmember Walter Darrach and Place 6 Councilmember Hud Hartson voted against the agenda item.

Place 4 Councilmember Clark Wickcliffe was not at Tuesday night’s meeting to vote.

Before the vote Midlothian Mayor Richard Reno said “I would also like to point out we are at the no-new-revenue rate for the M & O. I would like to point out that back in 2021 when the bond was voted on the commitment by council was to maintain the debt existed tax rate of .675. What is being proposed here at .65 is .2 ½ less than what was stated when we went to the bond. The bond is for roads, the Public Safety Center, the City Hall/Library, and the future Rec Center.  We are a growing city … this is what we need to move the city forward.”

With the deadline looming to set the tax rate, the item will be brought back to council for a vote next Tuesday, September 13.

Dick said council can adopt a rate no later than September 13 and if it is not approved next week “We have a little bit of an issue now.”

“This is kind of an interesting situation,” Dick added “in that we have got bond payments that we know that rate is set so this is kind of an interesting scenario. So basically, any equivalent tax cut that we wanted to make would not need to come on the operation’s side.”

It was mentioned it could end up going to the voter approval rate, which is higher than the .65.

“The results of tonight is democracy in action,” said Mayor Pro Tem Justin Coffman. “It’s ok to have differing opinions on issues, budgets, tax rates, etc. this is precisely why there are seven of us and not just one. These items will be placed on the September 13th regular agenda for further discussion and vote. Regardless of the number, both the budget and tax rate require five votes to pass. Next week is the regularly scheduled meeting. Council will have those agenda items added to that meeting. The proposed tax rate on the agenda will be the same (.65), due to that being the direction council gave the city manager during the budget workshops. However, council will vote on whatever tax rate is motioned and seconded.”

The two additional items that did pass in a simple majority vote of 4 – 2 with Hartson and Darrach voting against included an ordinance to adopt the FY 2022 – 2023 Annual Operating Budget and plan for municipal services for the ensuing fiscal year beginning October 1, 2022, and ending September 30, 2023, appropriating money to a Sinking Fund to pay interest and principal on the City’s indebtedness and appropriating the various amounts.

The second agenda item was a vote to ratify a property tax revenue increase as reflected in the FY 2022 -2023 Annual Operating Budget when compared to the FY 2021 – 2022 Annual Operating Budget. The budget will raise more total property taxes than last year’s budget by $4,248,968, which is a 12.78 percent increase from last year’s budget and, of that amount, $1,712,282 is tax revenue to be raised from new property added to the tax roll this year.

Prior to the vote on the three items, Hartson read from his campaign promises to voters and said he intended to keep his promises by voting no.

“Two of the priorities I said I had when I ran for office was to make fiscally conservative decisions and to keep taxes low,” Hartson explained. “On Tuesday I kept those campaign promises by voting not to raise the taxes in Midlothian. I pushed for a no-new-revenue Tax Rate for many reasons. Some of our lifelong residents are being taxed right out of their homes and that bothers me deeply. It’s past time the city treated our city budget like a household budget and live within our means.”

Hartson added “We by law had to vote on a maximum tax rate and we voted on .663.”

He said he had been hoping for a .595914 per $100 no-new-revenue tax rate.

 

See following from City of Midlothian: City Council will meet on Tuesday, September 13th at 6pm. View the agenda at https://www.midlothian.tx.us/Archive.aspx?ADID=7150

or the complete agenda packet at https://www.midlothian.tx.us/Archive.aspx?ADID=7149

Please note that the public hearing regarding the tax rate will not be held at this meeting due to the need to meet notification requirements. Although it was announced at last week’s special-called City Council meeting that the hearing would be held on September 13th, the specific time and location was not announced, which is required by law. Out of an abundance of caution, it was decided to move the public hearing and vote regarding the tax rate to September 20th at 4 p.m. at City Hall in order to meet the notification requirements.

 

 

 

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