Granite Shoals eyes property tax hike; public hearing Aug. 25

JENNIFER FIERRO • STAFF WRITER

GRANITE SHOALS — Citing a cost-of-living increase for employees, bringing up the city’s reserve fund and an increase in stray animal services, Granite Shoals officials are eyeing a property tax hike for the coming year, but not before residents can have a say in the matter.

City manager Ken Nickel said the council is looking at an ad valorem rate of no more than 52.07 cents per $100 valuation, up from a previous rate of 51.98 cents. The council is holding a public hearing Aug. 25 to get input from city residents regarding the proposed rate and the 2015-16 budget.

A vote for adoption is set for Sept. 8. The city must adopt a new rate and budget by Sept. 30, the end of the current fiscal year.

The proposed rate would add $32.14 to a city property tax bill for a home valued at $100,000, unless the resident’s taxes are frozen.

Nickel said he asked for the increase for a variety of reasons, including building up the city’s reserve fund. Granite Shoals currently has about $300,000 in its “savings,” which would cover about 36 days of operating expenses. The state requires 90 days.

“Our general fund has a small surplus in the budget,” he said. “We’ll continue to work toward getting a reserve to cover 90 days, but we’re not there yet.”

Along those lines, the city wants to give its employees a 3-percent, cost-of-living pay increase.

“You want to keep your strong workforce,” Nickel said. “We have more skills in this city than we had previously. That’s something I want to keep, that level of competence and commitment. I’m very supportive of the staff.”

Nickel said the city is also increasing its payment to the Hill Country Humane Society, which operates the Christ-Yoder Animal Shelter and Adoption Center in Buchanan Dam. The city contracts with the organization to use the shelter for animal control drop-offs and related services. The new contract is $15,700, up from $4,300.

The increase in the contract is a reflection of how much the city of Granite Shoals utilizes the facility and its services, Nickel added.

The city is earmarking an additional $50,000 for street paving in the coming fiscal year, though the overall budget for the street department is decreasing.

Other expenses at which the city is looking in the coming year include replacing two police vehicles with new ones at a cost of about $125,000.

The Aug. 25 public hearing is 6 p.m. in the council chambers, 2221 N. Phillips Ranch Road. Go to graniteshoals.org and click on the “Financial Transparency” link on the left side of the screen for more budget information.

jfierro@thepicayune.com

2 thoughts on “Granite Shoals eyes property tax hike; public hearing Aug. 25

  1. Once again, a budget that ignores the citizens and continues to exacerbate the negative situations of the working people, Youth, families, fixed income, and seniors. Once again overspending on high end police vehicles while turning their backs on the recreational needs the growing amount of youth in their neighborhoods. $125,000 for 2 more SUVs rather than following the vast majority of police departments in the State and acquiring proven and capable, high quality cars for many thousands less ( approx. $30,000+ less) meanwhile not even a single basketball hoop, not a single volleyball net,etc… in any of the 18 city parks around where many families live and a growing number of children play their games in the streets.

    The City Manager promised that Property taxes would be reduced with the new sales tax, yet now he says the property taxes are planned to go up again. Last years… raised property taxes, this year raised sales taxes, now again to raise more property taxes… The cats and dogs are getting better treatment and support than the citizens, especially the families, older and younger members both. Obviously the long history of private self interests and misdirection continues to control Granite Shoals.

  2. I agree with McCoy. Part of the reasoning for getting SUV police vehicles was because the police cars were getting torn up on the rough roads. Why not fix the roads then. It is not just the police vehicles getting beat up, but everyones. Do us all a favor and fix the roads instead like promised.
    A raise? The average corporation in America hasn’t given any appreciable raise in years. In fact they are all cutting back on costs, let alone giving any raises. What makes the city think they should be raising the taxpayers’ cost to run things when the taxpayer has not been getting any raises themselves? Granite Shoals needs to fall in line with the rest of the country and start seeing where it can save and even cut costs instead of railroading the residents everytime they think they have a brilliant idea.

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