Counter Proposal Would Stop Lubbock Tax Hike

Published 09/03 2014 10:03PM

Updated 09/03 2014 10:13PM

LUBBOCK, TX -- Unless something changes, the Lubbock City Council plans to raise property taxes by 2.29 cents per hundred in the coming fiscal year. However, Councilwoman Karen Gibson plans to make some changes.

Gibson told she has a four-point plan to balance the city's budget, and restore two Citibus routes that might otherwise be eliminated.

Her four point plan is:
  • Adjust the estimate on sales tax revenues
  • Cut two capital projects
  • Adjust for attrition in city salaries
  • Use fund balances which are above the city's policy

Gibson said, "I took some money out of capital projects that I thought were extremely high."

One example is Municipal Square. Gibson said the city has every intention of tearing down Municipal Square and building a brand new police station. So, she wonders why the city would set aside $750,000 for improvements to that building.

"I don’t understand putting three-quarters of a million dollars in a building you’re going to tear down," Gibson said. "That makes no sense to me. So I took $525,000 out of that capital project."

Gibson also said the city was too conservative on its estimate of sales tax revenue for the coming year. The budget presumes a 3 percent increase, but Gibson said that's too low.

"I think we need to be careful. I don’t have a problem with that. But I think it’s going to come in higher than ‘3,’ Gibson said.  She would prefer the city presume a 3.5 percent increase in sales tax revenue.  

Gibson also said the proposed property tax hike does nothing to reduce the city's debt, and that's one reason she's trying to get rid of it.

"We’re still debt funding street maintenance. We’re still debt funding pavilions. We’re still debt funding playground equipment. That’s what’s so frustrating to me," Gibson said.

"That’s where I disagree with her," said Mayor Glen Robertson. "I think we should go ahead and raise the tax rate and then use that to offset street maintenance."

"I agree with the cuts," Robertson said.

"I want to start tackling the big debt issue," Robertson added. "Every year council kicks the can down the road. I think it’s time for this council to start working on this debt."

The City Council meets on Thursday afternoon. 

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