Tax rates are going down for residents of George West, but the city will actually bring in more money from property taxes because property values have increased within the city. The George West City Council proposed to adopt an effective tax rate of $0.51686 per $100 value as opposed to last year’s rate of $0.56149.
Although the rate went down per $100 taxable value, the city’s revenue will actually increase by $6,523 for the coming year. Had the new rate not been proposed, it would have meant an additional $44,000 for the city.
Once the new tax rate is put into effect at the public hearing on Sept. 5 it will mean the city will get approximately $432,445 from property taxes.
At last Monday’s meeting, the council decided to charge $500 per month with a $500 deposit for renters at the recently purchased five mobile homes, also called cabanas, located at Cactus Park.
During last month’s meeting, the council decided to form a committee to figure out what rate to charge, and the committee recommended $700 per month with a $300 deposit for a 10-month lease, but it was decided to lower the monthly cost.
George West City Manager Sandra Martinez said the committee took into consideration the rate of pay for teachers, police officers and public works employees when considering the rental rates.
Martinez said when the city’s plans for the cabanas began it was to encourage use of Cactus Park, but it changed due to housing issues brought on by the influx of workers with the Eagle Ford Shale.
In the last five years, rent in Live Oak County increased by over 300 percent, making it difficult to find or afford local housing.
“We are trying to assist teachers, coaches, police officers and public works employees as best as we can but are not trying to compete in the housing market,” Martinez said. “There are only five of them. The last thing the city wants is for people to feel we are going into competition; that is not the intent of the city or the city council.”
The council also discussed concerns regarding the upcoming Brush Country Big Hog Roundup which is scheduled for Sept. 13-15 at Cactus Park. Martinez said concerns arose because alcohol and firearms aren’t permitted in city parks, and the city was worried about the event’s impact on the new playground equipment.
“Some of the concerns were how do you mix firearms, alcohol and playground equipment?” Martinez said.
She said there were questions as to why the event is being held at the park and not at a different location.
Martinez also said the event didn’t request a variance, but the council approved the event because it is beneficial to the city.
The city council postponed making a decision on purchasing the old Texas Department of Transportation Building on Highway 281 after a year and a half of negotiations.
“They were asking if the city wanted to do a payment plan and we don’t want to commit to $100,000 payment for four years because we believe that $404,000 appraised value is just ridiculous,” Martinez said.
She said the appraisal district valued the building at about $200,000 just eight months ago. Sen. Judith Zaffirini also contacted TxDOT with requests to lower the price of the building for the city to purchase, according to Martinez.
Because the old TxDOT building is government-owned, they are required to offer it to another government entity, according to Martinez, and Live Oak County was the first to turn down the offer. She said the city of George West could use the building as a new police station and civic center.
The next George West City Council meeting is scheduled for Sept. 16.