Council discusses increased tax revenue and this year's operatin

Council discusses increased tax revenue and this year's operating budget

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

City Council held a public hearing to discuss increasing tax revenues and the operating budget for this fiscal year.

According to the city, it would increase property tax by 2.22 percent as a result of higher property values and new construction. The second and final reading for adopting the tax rate is next week.

The budget calls for a million dedicated to Lubbock parks, including a project to create the city's first dog park at Mackenzie Park and several pavilions.

Most of the budget is focused on LP&L spending, water and wastewater.

There are rate increases including $1 increase for trash collection, 60 cent increase for wastewater and a five percent increase to an LP&L user's base rate.

A proposed change to LP&L rates included doing away with the summer and non-summer rates and replacing it with a one year rate. 

The budget also included a two percent raise for city employees and gives the opportunity to hire two dozen new employees and ten new LPD officers. 

Council's work session included a discussion about whether to continue allocating city funds for the North and East Lubbock Community Development Corporation.The corporation works to rehab and construct properties.

The NELCDC's current proposed budget calls for more than $350,000.

However, the Council seems to want to allocate funds elsewhere. It's looking into other ways to spend these dollars for north and east revitalization and hopes to find a more direct way to benefit citizens of these neighborhoods.

The NELCDC was under scrutiny for misappropriating funds, which the executive director said is no longer an issue and board members assure the Council they would be good stewards of the money.

However, many are expressing their disdain for the group.

"North and East Lubbock community Development Corporation has not been successful and we do have other entities or organizations," said citizen Gordon Harris.

"I am just opposed to any funding for NELCDC," said citizen Pat Kelly. "They don't show in good faith that they can do correct business.
give it to community development, and let them do something with it. Some tangible things with it."

"We're not at a point where we can't change, we can do that," said NELCDC Chairperson Cosby Morton. "But for somebody to come down and accuse us for something that is totally inaccurate: that's a travesty."

"I guarantee you there is nobody that is going to look out for the interests of the community more than myself and my team," said Executive Director Monique Coleman. "And if they don't do it, I will find somebody who will. I guarantee you some of the people in this audience who are claiming to be champions of the community are not. You are looking at the community champion."

An alternative put forth by City Manager Jarrett Atkinson is to deliver the funds to a community development program already in place that could serve more homeowners if it had more money. No action was taken today.

Councilman Juan Chadis and Councilwoman Shelia Patterson Harris both request more time to mull over these options. Mayor Dan Pope said a vote will take place during the September 14 council meeting.

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