With the important tax rate vote coming up in less than a week, members of the Stephenville City Council remain split on whether to raise or maintain the current tax rate.
Opposing the raising of taxes are council members Casey Hogan, Malcolm Cross, Doug Svien and Russ McDanel, who voted in favor of an amended budget that featured multiple cuts that would balance the budget without a tax increase.
If the tax rate were to increase at next week's vote, the rate would increase from $.4850 to $.4950.
Voting against the amendment and in favor of the tax increase are Brady Pendleton, Alan Nix, Martha Taylor and Scott Evans.
The budget amendment that passed cut proposed salary increases for city employees. The vote was tied 4-4 when Mayor Kenny Weldon broke the tie and voted in favor of the amendment. Multiple city employees including firefighters and police officers attended Tuesday's public hearing but did not speak.
"I want to thank our city employees for the good job y'all do. After last week y'all were treated unfairly. Certainly it is the desire of this end of the horseshoe to not do that," said councilman Scott Evans. "We'll continue to work on your behalf and see that you're treated right. It was the number one priority of the council this year that we fix that (salaries) and we fell short. Next week I am going to ask to pass a tax rate of $.4950."
Councilman Russ McDanel who proposed the amendment to the budget continues to urge citizens to attend next week's final hearing.
"In the last two weeks fourteen times we have heard from citizens asking us not to vote for an unprecedented tax increase. Not one person spoke at either public hearing in favor of the tax increase, not one person. Next Tuesday the council votes on the tax rate and we appear to be almost evenly split," he said. "A balanced budget has been ratified with no tax increase, but efforts to raise your taxes continue."
The final vote on the tax rate for the 2013-14 fiscal year will take place at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17, at Stephenville City Hall.