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Council agrees on two-cent tax rate increase

By: Dolores Hamilton
During their budget workshop Monday night the Iowa Park City Council agreed to go forward with a budget that will require a two-cent tax increase.

Two public hearings are scheduled for the tax rate increase. The first hearing will be on August 19, and the second on August 26. At their meeting on Sept. 9, the council will set the tax rate and approve the budget.

According to City Manager Mike Price the proposed General Fund budget is 2.5 percent higher than this year’s budget and will require a two-cent tax increase to bring it into the black.

The proposed budget provides salary increases from 50-cents to $1.00 an hour. The budget contains $5,000 for capital outlay improvements that will allow city hall and the police department to replace computers that are nearing their life/use expectancy, and funding for the police department’s “Home-Grown Training Program.” The budget also provides for a full-time clerk’s position at the library, and will allow Parks Department laborers to be moved into equipment operator status. The budget will continue to fund the utilities at all of the baseball and football fields as well as water, sewer and solid waste collection at the Friendly Door Senior Citizens’ Center, and the RAC will continue to receive funding for the next 12 months.

Price said the proposed budget would reflect a surplus of $210.

Council members discussed the Wichita Falls water rate study and the probable increase in rates that was released to communities that purchase wholesale water from them.

Price said he is not ready to recommend a rate increase for Iowa Park water customers until after a meeting with other city managers and Wichita Falls officials he is scheduled to attend on Friday. He indicated that there would be an increase passed on to Iowa Park citizens as well as other wholesale customers.

During the Citizen’s Input portion of the meeting, Steve Smith, owner of the Liquor Stop, invited council members and those attending the meeting to a ribbon cutting ceremony at his new business Thursday morning.

“I hope those opposed to alcohol sales passing will give this a chance,” he said. “All indications after my first week of business is that the $100,000 in sales predicted, is going to be way short.”

He went on to say that in addition to sales tax the alcohol sales will generate revenues from improvements done by those who sell alcohol. “We will pay personal property taxes on the improvements as well as our inventory,” Smith said. He said he has also seen highway traffic customers and customers from the surrounding area. “Hopefully they are spending money at other businesses in town,” he added.