The Levelland City Council met in a regular meeting Tuesday night. One of the main items on the agenda was to propose a tax rate for the 2017-2018 fiscal year.
The council discussed a proposed tax rate for 2017-2018 fiscal year. The effective rate, which is the rate to raise the same amount of revenue as 2016-2017 is .7508 cents per $100 property value. The council proposed a tax rate ceiling of .78 cents per 100 dollars property value which is equal to the same tax rate as the current year. Councilman Jim Myatt, asked when we can roll the rate back from .78, Erik Rejino said that the council could propose a lower tax rate on September 11. There will be a public hearing on August 21 and August 28. Councilman Max Ledesma, said he received a lot of calls from residents, not wanting ANY tax increase and would like to see a tax rate reduction. Jim Myatt, said “we have already had a tax increase because property values went up”. It was noted that property values are out of the hands of the city council, that is set by the Hockley County Appraisal District. Erik Rejino noted that over one million dollars was taken out of budget before the council looked at it, he noted if the council goes to much lower on the tax rate, then city management will need to know from council what services they want to cut. He noted that the city has been able to maintain services through the downturn in economy. He also noted that this is a heavy capitol investment year. It is also important to note that over $1 million are to satisfy state requirements. Two fire engines must be replaced this year. It was noted, last week, five of the twelve fire trucks were down. A motion was made by JoeBill Vardeman to approve the .78 cents per $100 property value, the motion was approved on a vote of 2 to 1 with Jim Myatt casting the dissenting vote. Billy Youngblood, was not present at the meeting.
The council took action on a 3.25% rate increase for Republic Services for garbage collection and disposal services. The increase is based on Bureau of Labor Statistics cost of living adjustment. It is part of the contract and as long as Republic Services is providing good service the city has a lawful duty to approve the increase or risk being in violation of the contract. The increase was reluctantly approved on a unanimous vote. Councilmembers noted that they didn’t have a choice. It was noted that the current contract expires in 2020 and the council may choose to look at other services.
The council also reviewed a recommendation for the Main Street program to establish an endowment fund through the Community Foundation of West Texas. For the long term it is hoped it will become a funding source to pay for Main Street projects. There is a local business owner, which is willing to donate the $5,000 to start the endowment fund. The resolution was approved with little discussion.
Tiger Towing and Transportation has come to Levelland and is in operation. They have requested to be added to the wrecker call rotation for the Levelland Police Department. Currently two wrecker companies are on rotation. It was noted that the company is in full compliance with all state laws.