Tuesday evening, the Waxahachie City Council unanimously approved its 2020-2021 budget along with a $0.02 decrease from last year’s property tax rate. The new tax rate for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1 will be $0.66 per $100 valuation.
The budget totals more than $90 million, with its largest fund, the general fund, coming in at $45.4 million.
City manager Michael Scott said the budget provides the ability to meet residents’ needs and continued growth. He noted that city staff factored in recent events, including the COVID-19 pandemic, as they planned for the upcoming year.
“I think that this is a really unique budget,” Scott said. “Of course, we are living in crazy times right now and times that we have not seen before. To be able to offer some tax relief with a lower tax rate, this is an appropriate year to do that. I commend the council for their direction on doing that.
“Not knowing how long we are going to be wearing masks or be under the COVID restrictions and what impact that is going to have on sales tax and revenue numbers, you have to consider that into your decision making,” he said. “We took a conservative approach with our financial projections.”
Offering some tax relief while continuing with several key projects speaks to Waxahachie’s commitment to move forward as a progressive city that offers amenities for its residents, he said.
The budget includes several enhancements, including the purchase of new and replacement police vehicles, additional staffing, and several upgrades to the parks system, the Waxahachie Senior Activity Center and the Chautauqua Auditorium. Also included are infrastructure improvements and design/engineering work for a new development services building (city hall annex).
Before the vote, several residents praised city leaders for their management and its having led to improvements in city services and quality of life amenities.
“There has been quite a bit of discussion I guess in the last eight months, more so than I have ever seen,” Forrest John said. “Even I have gotten involved in the discussions on NextDoor, which has been rather difficult, and got involved in some of the bickering, which I do regret. But, for the first time in recent years, we have noticed improvements that are being made within the city. And for some reason, there is pushback on doing those improvements.”
John said he has complained about his taxes and went to the appraisal district to challenge the appraisals. He also pointed out how, for $130-$150 a month, he gets fire and police protection, clean water and prompt service when there is a blockage with a sewer line, which is less than his monthly phone bill.
“So, for some reason, I am not sure what the pushback is,” John said. “However, I am thankful.”
Questions about the budget and the tax rate can be directed to city staff, which can be reached at 469-309-4000. City hall is located in downtown Waxahachie at 401 S. Rogers St.
The full budget can be viewed on the city’s website at www.waxahachie.com. It is on the home page under the news and announcements heading.