Scott Brooks

Waxahachie Sun Publisher Scott Brooks

“Until you realize how easily it is for your mind to be manipulated, you remain the puppet of someone else's game.” – Evita Ochel

 

As it relates to a couple of folks on Waxahachie’s city council, I continue to be both disappointed and exceedingly frustrated with the constant efforts to mislead citizens of this city. It wouldn’t be such a big deal if it were not for the subtle damage being done to the city’s future.  

That said, and by the time you read this, a vote by the five members of council on the 2021-22 tax rate for the city of Waxahachie will have been cast. Although not a betting man, my bet is that the current rate of .66 cents per $100 valuation of your home will pass. As an example, here is what that means:

  • Assessed home value (as determined by Ellis County Appraisal District): $240,000
  • Tax rate: .66 cents per $100
  • Annual tax you owe: $1,584
  • Monthly tax you owe: $132

In case you don’t know, the city’s tax rate is but one third of the taxes you pay every month and year. The other two taxes come from the school district and county. In this example, it is only the city tax rate in question. That said, here is what would happen if the city tax rate were to be lowered by two cents, from .66 to .64: 

  • Assessed home value (as determined by Ellis County Appraisal District): $240,000
  • Tax rate: .64 cents per $100 
  • Annual tax you owe: $1,536
  • Monthly tax you owe: $128

As you can see, despite the ridiculous amount of drama thrown at you regarding a lower tax rate, you would save a whopping $4 per month in taxes. Four. Dollars. A. Month.

On the other hand, using the same example, the impact on the city would be significant. How significant? Simply put, for every penny the tax rate is reduced, the city’s revenue would decrease by $430,000-$450,000. The result then, using the equation above, would be a loss to the city of nearly $900,000 annually. As such, jobs, services, infrastructure needs, and the like would either need to be eliminated or, by any measure of math, be greatly reduced. Oddly enough, you rarely hear much about that, do you? With the city’s population now at approximately 42,000 and growing, more is required today than ever before to support, maintain, and protect the services, infrastructure, and people necessary to manage such growth.  

As current council member and former mayor of Waxahachie, David Hill, and I discussed in last week’s Sun Spot podcast, every member of council has had months to address any concerns regarding the city’s tax rate. Not one of them has or did. Matter of fact, every council person has either said or nodded their approval for the city manager and his staff to move forward using the current tax rate of .66 cents … which is a two-cent reduction from the 2019 rate and the lowest of comparative cities in the region.

Now, at what is the 11th hour and in what is a wholly disrespectful way to the city manager and his staff, council member Melissa Olson feigns concern about the tax rate. That’s right, no mention of it for months yet now, when she assumes more citizens are paying attention, Olson says the current rate – the same rate she voted for last year – is too high. That kind of stunt, no matter how you slice it, is sick, shameful, expensive and unacceptable. And, if that weren’t enough absurdity for you, Olson advocates cutting the longstanding budgeted amount of $14,000 earmarked for annual gifts and recognition of city staff to help offset her recommended annual tax loss of $900,000 to the city. In case you’re wondering, that’s approximately $35 per employee annually. You read that right, a council member who in one year will likely spend more than a thousand dollars on seminars and conventions every year wants to axe the formal recognition of extraordinary city employees so she herself can look productive. Imagine what the hardworking people who keep this city running must think of such disrespectful brilliance.     

Not sure that I’ve shared this with you, but it wasn’t long ago that I reached out to Melissa Olson to express my apology for being unnecessarily harsh in the past. Truth is I meant it. I meant it with the belief that Olson would consider her own approach and become more authentic in how she fulfills her obligation as a council member. She hasn’t. Matter of fact, the approach as you can see has only become worse and, as a result, more damaging. Thus the reason for this column. I simply cannot sit on my hands while an elected official, and the lingering few who still buy what she’s selling, continues to hoodwink voters.

I’ve had enough, and so should you.    

Scott Brooks is the publisher of the Waxahachie Sun. Contact him at scott@waxahachiesun.com.

(1) comment

Debbie3

To criticize a council person on not being forthcoming with the citizens, add your name to the list. I’m not sure what all the variables are, but where’s the reference to the increases to appraisal values? That’s a factor and should have been included in your article so we can get the Full picture.

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