By CLINT FOSTER
'Tis the end of budget season in Palo Pinto County, and the City of Mineral Wells became the latest to finalize their new budget and tax rates for the next fiscal year at a regular City Council meeting on Tuesday night.
Mineral Wells is cutting down on spending, with the new budget being 1.77 percent lower than its previous incarnation. The City settled on a grand total of $22,438,074 toward expenditures for the 2013-14 fiscal year after a presentation at a special meeting of City Council on July 29 and a public hearing on Aug. 6.
Mayor Mike Allen told the Index he was pleased with the new budget – which the council approved in a unanimous record vote – calling it "pretty bare bones."
"I feel it's a very good budget," he said. "I couldn't ask for more from the staff.
We've all had to cut some things and try to minimize the impact on taxpayers.
We're trying not to be a burden on the taxpayer but still provide all the services they want through the City. It's a juggling act to try to get everything done and still keep the tax rate as low as we can."
Taxpayers of Mineral Wells will see an increase in taxes. As part of the new budget, the council also adopted a new tax rate for ad valorem property taxes at 51 cents per $100 valuation – a 6.79 percent increase above the effective rate. Of the 51 cents, about 40 cents will go toward the City's Maintenance and Operation Rate and 11 cents will make up the Interest and Sinking Rate. Public hearings on the property tax increase were held on Aug. 20 and Sept. 3.
City Manager Lance Howerton previously explained to the Index that under the new tax rate, the average Mineral Wells resident who owns a $60,000 property will see their taxes increase by about $12 per year. In all, the new tax rate will increase revenue for the City by $133,098 – $24,889 of which will be added to the tax roll this year.