By Joe Farkus, NDG Contributing Writer
The Irving City Council voted to maintain its current property tax rate of $0.5941 per $100 assessed valuation, raising revenues for the city as a result of increasing property values at its Sept. 21 Council Meeting Thursday night. The arguments in favor of maintaining the tax rate centered around the city’s need for more revenue to meet the challenges of both funding new projects and addressing aging infrastructure. Despite broad agreement on the need to meet these challenges, two council members proposed enacting the effective rate (a lower rate that would bring in roughly the same amount of tax revenue as last year).
“We can accomplish everything we need to accomplish at the effective rate,” Council member Phil Riddle told his peers.
“I think we owe it to the citizens who choose to be here – that choose to be a part of this city – I think we owe it to them to hold the line on tax rates this year,” Riddle declared in a sharp criticism of companies who are getting paid by the City of Irving simply to remain in the city.
Council member Oscar Ward agreed with Riddle, suggesting there are certain actions the city could take to offset the revenue that would be lost by enacting the reduced tax rate.
“[There would be] no cut in any employees, public safety employees, general employees; nothing cut in wages or salaries with this reduction,” Ward claimed. “I think it’s time to give a little back to the citizens of Irving.”
Ward and Riddle proved to be the two lone voices speaking out against a property tax revenue increase. The rest of the council defended maintaining the rate of $0.5941 rate which was adopted in 2015 and maintained in 2016.
“We have to catch up to what we didn’t do the past five years,” Council member and Mayor Pro Tem Allan Meagher implored. “We’re way behind on fixing our streets. We’re way behind on our infrastructure.”
“There a percentage of people who will pay more [in] taxes,” he continued, “but it’s not that much.”
The council voted to maintain the property tax rate at $0.5941 with a vote of 7 – 2. Ward and Riddle served as the only votes against the motion.