|City Council meeting Aug. 17 to discuss annexation, tax rates|
|Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor|
Aug. 16, 2006 -- Sulphur Springs City Council members will meet in a special session, slated for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, to conduct a public hearing for the proposed annexation of 1,274.6 acres into the city limits, as well as to hold the final discussion on the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year which begins on Oct. 1.
Included in the planned annexation is all the property not already in the city limits between Interstate 30 and the planned State Highway extension, as well as property immediately adjacent to the extension on the south side.
The need to annex the property into the city is attributed to the need to plan for growth of the community, specifically in the target area.
"Certainly with the Highway 11 extension, that is going to be an area that we anticipate will have quite a bit of developmental impact in the near future," Community Development Director Johnny Vance said in May after the city's Planning and Zoning Commission recommended the annexation plan. "It is much easier to address all the issues that come with development beforehand, rather than after the fact."
With new development, Vance said, there is always a need for city services, and those services can be more easily provided and better regulated if the property is already inside the city limits.
Following the completion of the lengthy annexation process, the overall size of Sulphur Springs will have grown by as much as 10 percent, according to Vance.
The council will also discuss the upcoming budget for the city and visit with various department heads about specific departmental budgets.
Following that, the council will hold the first of three public hearings on the proposed tax rate. The proposed rate will remain at 44 cents per $100 property valuation, according to city Finance Director Peter Karstens, but anticipated tax revenues will increase due to an 8 percent rise in property values.
"If you are going to be raising revenue because the value of homes have increased, then the council needs to ... show it will enact a property tax that will increase overall tax revenues, even though the rate stays the same," Karstens said today.
The additional revenue expected as a result of the increased property values, along with increased sales tax revenues, will be earmarked for street improvements in the city, according to Karstens,
The council meeting will convene at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the Council Room of the Sulphur Springs Municipal Building, 125 South Davis St.