If you are an elected official, tough times call for tough decisions.
Then, you better be tough because, no matter what you decide, you will get some tough criticism.
The six members of Mineral Wells City Council are facing a tough decision – whether to raise the current property tax rate from its current 53 cents per $100 property valuation to as much as 61 cents – just below the rate that could trigger a property tax rollback petition. City staff proposed a modest increase to 56 cents, which would provide about $170,000 in new property tax revenue. Basically peanuts that would accomplish very beyond keeping the lights on and current services running.
At the same time, council is considering raising water rates for city utility customers 10 percent to make up for lagging sales from major business losses the last several years, water use restrictions and overall conservation by customers following the extended drought.
Public hearings on those two rate hike considerations are this Tuesday, Aug. 23, and Sept. 6. Will anyone show up to address council on these proposed rates, whether in favor of or against? Or will most people save their comments for social media after the fact? My guess is the latter.
These rates are being proposed to address some pressing needs, infrastructure that for the past seven years has not been properly maintained and replaced because the city tightened its money belt in the face of declining tax revenues, especially sales tax receipts, and an overall contracting economy and tax base.
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