City has do-over on adopted tax rate

By Gilda Morales

The Van Horn City Council met in a special session last Monday to again adopt the tax rate for the 2020 tax year, after finding out that the previous meeting last week was not valid because there was one alderman not present. Per state rules, four of the five councilmen must be present to adopt a tax rate. 

At the previous meeting, which included a public hearing on the tax rate, the councilmen present voted to adopt the voter-approval tax rate of 0.500071 per $100, which would have netted the City a small, but much needed additional revenue of approximately $44,000.  The tax rate would have increased property and real estate tax less than 2 cents per $100. That would translate into an increase of about $12 per year on someone owning a $75,000 house.

The meeting last Monday was a more contentious one with two council members claiming that their constituents were extremely upset about the 2 cent per $100 increase. However, no one was present at the public hearing the week before to protest the tax rate. The two councilmen against the increase stated that local taxpayers were “slammed” with water fee increases and shouldn’t be burdened with more taxes.

Councilwoman Karloss argued that although only an additional $44,000 would be generated with the voter-approval tax rate (formerly called the rollback tax rate), the City needed to start thinking of ways to increase revenue and that this would be a modest start toward a daunting infrastructure project. She continued that if council only considered long-term debt to pay for necessary projects, future generations of residents would be saddled with the debt. 

In the end, council voted to adopt the no-new-revenue tax rate of 0.482987 per $100, but it was not a unanimous vote, with Councilmen McDonald, Hinojos and Garibay voting for the no -new-revenue tax rate and Corrales and Karloss voting against the no-new-revenue tax rate.