Alton to maintain same tax rate

ALTON — Residents likely won’t see an increase in property taxes next year as the city commissioners voted in favor of a proposal to maintain the same tax rate for the next fiscal year.

The city commissioners approved the proposal of keeping the current property tax rate of .4440 per $100 valuation during a city commission meeting held Tuesday during which staff from the Hidalgo County tax office presented their valuations.

Even though the city isn’t proposing a tax increase, they must still hold two public hearings before officially adopting the rate.

That’s because home values throughout the county are on the rise, said Julio Espinosa of the county tax office — meaning that a tax rate that would bring in the same amount in revenues as last year — the effective tax rate — is now lower than the city’s current rate.

Therefore, because the city is going to adopt a rate higher than the effective tax rate, they must hold two public hearings to allow Alton residents the opportunity to give their input.

The two hearings are scheduled for Aug. 30 and Sept. 5, with the rate expected to be officially adopted on Sept. 10.

During Tuesday’s meeting, City Manager Jeff Underwood presented preliminary budget numbers which included $5.679 million in general fund revenue and $5.696 million in expenditures.

That put the city’s general fund with $17,029 in the negative.

“Now, again, this is the proposed budget,” Underwood said, assuring the city commissioners that staff continue to work on the budget.

“We’ll still be scrubbing this and, of course, before we adopt anything we’ll be bringing it back to you with a balanced budget,” he said. “We’ll take a look at (expenditures and revenues) and make sure that we’re conservative and responsible and at the same time the expenditures are to where we keep the level of service the same.”