In surprising fashion the Stephenville City Council passed the fiscal year 2013-14 proposed tax rate of $.4950 Tuesday - an increase of $.01 from last year's rate of $.4850.
The vote for the increased tax rate was won by a majority of 5-4. Those who voted in favor of the increase were Brady Pendleton, Alan Nix, Martha Taylor, Scott Evans and Malcolm Cross, who previously had voted for the amended budget that called for a $.4850 rate. Casey Hogan, Doug Svien, Russ McDanel and Mayor Kenny Weldon voted against the increase.
An example of the effect of the raise would be a $10 increase in taxes for the year on a piece of property worth $100,000.
Mayor Weldon presented a proposal that would have possibly funded pay adjustments to city employees without the increase. The parameters of the proposal consisted of an estimated 3.8% increase in sales tax revenues that would generate $300,000 more than the $5.2 million in sales tax dollars that was budgeted. The percentage Mayor Weldon generated came from, "a 10-year average of 5.3% of economic growth."
The proposal was met with questions by Cross, place 2, who said he was not against the proposal, but regretted the timing of the proposal was left until the night of the tax rate vote.
Throughout the process of the tax rate acceptance 20 residents spoke against the tax increase and one spoke in favor. After the vote members of the cramped City Hall audience responded with mixed emotions.