The city will advertise their five-year tax digest history in the legal organ of the county and hold three public hearings before officially approving the increase.
“Since the amount you’re wanting to increase is more than the roll back rate,” Robinson said, “you’re required to have these public hearings.”
The city’s current mill rate is 2 mills. The proposed increase is to add 1 mill, making the total city tax rate 3 mills.
“This would be a 50 percent increase, but when compared with other cities in the area, yours is still quite low,” Robinson said.
Robinson presented the mill rates for other cities in the area to the council. Tallapoosa’s mill rate is set at 7.43, Buchanan’s at 5.614, Temple’s at 7.050 and Bremen’s at 7.103.
“I think you’ve done very well and waited to raise taxes until you absolutely had to,” Robinson said.
Waco has not seen a tax increase in nearly two decades, according to the council. The proposed increase was brought on by a reduction in Local Option Sales Tax revenues over the last several years, which has forced the city to pull from its reserve fund to cover some operating costs.
In last month’s meeting, council members noted that unless they changed something, they city was going to run out of money.
“We’re slowly loosing our cash reserve,” Council member Bob Shealy said.
While none of the council members liked the idea of raising taxes during these hard economic times, they all admitted it was a necessary evil.
“Any time you spend more than you take in, it’s going to catch up with you,” said Council member Doug Brock.
Waco City Clerk Sherry Morgan said the city has been spending wisely and has not been spending money on anything that wasn’t necessary; however, SPLOST and property tax revenues simply haven’t been able to keep up with the rising costs of running the city
The council agreed to hold public hearings on Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. and Oct. 1 at 6:30 and 7 p.m.