Houston Forward Times

16 October 2013 Written by  Jeffrey L. Boney

Missouri City Councilmembers Vote to Increase Taxes

During its regularly scheduled meeting held on Monday, Oct. 7, Missouri City Council adopted a new tax rate, approving an ordinance for the assessment, levy and collection of ad valorem taxes for the City for the tax year 2013 and for each year thereafter until otherwise provided.

A standing room only crowd of more than 200 residents attended the meeting at the community center on the Missouri City Hall complex Monday night to hear a staff presentation on the tax rate increase, to hear Council discussion on the issue and to provide input and feedback.

After some heated exchanges from speakers who represented both sides of the spectrum, the Missouri City Council voted 5-2 in favor of the rate increase. Council members Robin Elackatt and Yolanda Ford voted against the tax proposal.

The proposal will raise the tax rate from 54.48 cents per $100 in valuation to 57.37 cents. The $1.7 million revenue increase will be used to create a motorcycle traffic unit, hire one additional firefighter and adjust pay structures to 100 percent of market for Fire and Police structures; to 95 percent of market for all other department structures; and to fund a 2 percent across the board increase for all employees not affected by market adjustment, including police and fire.

But the majority of the speakers, most of them retirees, spoke out in favor of the increase. Those opposed to the tax rate increase acknowledged that additional pay is needed to retain city employees but are frustrated at the perception that certain areas of Missouri City are being neglected by the council.

Missouri City officials state that commercial and residential property owners in Missouri City will see a 5.31 percent increase in their property taxes. This will equate to an average annual increase of $46.37, which is based on the average home value of $160,160.

In late June, City Council adopted a $35.5 million fiscal year 2014 budget based on a .5835 tax rate. The pay adjustments, additional firefighter and the motorcycle unit were included in the fiscal year 2014 budget.

According to the city, the budget was approved before the certified appraisal values were in. Those values came in lower than the expected tax rate prompting the need for the tax rate increase to cover the budget shortfall.