Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Titus Co Tax Hikes Continue-Commissioners discuss 3 1/2 to 5 cent increase

Subject: Titus Co Tax Hikes Continue-Commissioners discuss 3 1/2 to 5 cent increase

The Titus Co Commissioners, like the MPISD, are falling short on budget funding because of Luminant's contested assessment of their value. The MPISD is forced to raise the tax rate because of state law mandating that they have the revenue to satisfy debt obligations. Now the Commissioners Court is discussing a 3 1/2 to 5 cent increase to compensate for lost revenue from Luminant. They are not mandated by state law to increase tax rates as the school districts are. It just depends on how dedicated they are to making significant budget cuts. Your voice matters on this issue!  Public hearings will be held because of the percent they are proposing to increase the tax rate, I will let you all know when and where.
I have attached a copy of my comments to the Commissioners this morning. The recent EPA mandates issued for Welsh Power Plant and Luminant were not given much consideration in my opinion until budget time rolled around and lo and behold there was a major shortfall. Spending has continued as usual despite the EPA announcing in the fall of 2010 that they would be supervising Texas air quality instead of state regulators. The writing has been on the wall for awhile that our tax base locally could crumble under obama epa regulations.
I have been on my soapbox FOREVER about the $168 million we are spending a a loop that was originally intended to alleviate Pilgrim truck traffic according to former city manager Courtney Sharp. Pilgrim's, now JBS, continues to downgrade local operations, recently cutting producers by one batch of chickens a year and according to producers that is their profit margin. Layoffs have continued at the local plants still in operation. Our tax dollars are being wasted on the loop just as they were wasted on the Industrial Park located just west of the County Extension Office that houses one metal building "industry". It has beautiful roads, curbed and guttered, all utilities available. The only thing it is lacking is tenants!
Have you ever noticed how city managers stay a few years, start a taxpayer funded project and move on to bigger and better jobs?  Current city manager Mike Ahrens has our new obsolete $3 million city library to feather his cap while Courtney Sharp left us with the wonderful $168 million dollar loop project.
I believe that the recession has hit Titus County government and we the taxpayers are the ones who will suffer. The attachment has another bit of info that you need to be aware of. The Titus Co Appraisal District has increased land values up to 38% for rural tracts over 20 acres. While this will not increase taxes for those with ag exemptions, keep in mind that qualifications for ag exemptions are being scrutinized by the appraisal district.
Barbara Bruechner, Mt. Pleasant Tea Party

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