Councilwoman Elaine Hays deserves a pat on the back for her vote on the City Council’s latest proposal to increase property taxes in Amarillo.
Last week, Hays was the only member of the City Council to vote against the tax increase. Hays eventually made a comment about living within the city’s means as justification for voting against the tax increase and stood apart from Mayor Ginger Nelson and other Council members in casting that vote. I still have concerns about her record on spending and taxes, as I don’t think one vote against a tax increase wipes away a record of fiscal irresponsibility, but I do believe she deserves praise on this vote.
What about the rest of the City Council? It was a unanimous vote for a tax increase.
It is worth pointing out that if this City Council’s tax increase is successful, it will mark the third straight year where this Council has voted for at least an effective tax increase. That is not a good record on an issue as important as property taxes. There is debt that must be serviced on the City’s ledger, but while the City is barreling ahead with a tax increase, multiple cities like Colleyville, Plano, and Southlake are proposing the effective tax rate or lower. It would be worth looking at keeping the revenue level the same for the City, but I doubt that will even by a consideration by this City Council.
So, on this particular vote, I say “well done” to Mrs. Hays. For the rest of the Council, let’s hope you do better next time.
-Thomas Warren III, Editor-in-Chief