City of Lubbock gives preliminary approval for property tax rate increase

Published: Sep. 5, 2023 at 10:56 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The City of Lubbock is in the middle of voting on next year’s budget and an increase in the property tax rate. If adopted, City staff estimates the average homeowner would pay about $103 more in city taxes than last year.

At Tuesday’s public hearing and first reading, city council gave preliminary approval with a 6-1 vote for a tax rate of $0.480164 per $100 valuation. That is higher than the no-new-revenue rate of $0.465391 and lower than the voter-approval rate of $0.505718.

Last year, the city council went with a lower rate than what was proposed to them. This year, though, Mayor Tray Payne says some needed services will not make that possible.

“We have a really good budget this year, tried to keep that rate as low as possible, no frills. It’s all about core services,” Payne said.

City Manager Jarrett Atkinson says the increased revenue from property taxes will pay for raises for employees, street maintenance, new police officers and body cameras and new firefighters.

“Lubbock supports public safety, they always have and I believe they always will. And I think the citizens of this community support when you show them where it’s going, and when it’s going to, directly to our public safety component of our city,” Payne said.

The proposed rate would bring in $11.8 million more dollars in property tax revenue than last year. Based on values from the Lubbock Central Appraisal District, the overall certified net taxable value of the City of Lubbock rose by $2.5 billion in the last year to $25.8 billion. For the second year in a row, LCAD increased values by double-digit percentages.

While the new budget and rate will likely pass, some want the council to hit the brakes. Resident Burley Owen says the increases are on top of other expenses, thanks to inflation.

“My concern was that the city seems to be moving full speed ahead in spite of these tough economic times. Purpose for my being here today was to point out to them some of the hardships the citizens of Lubbock and of the nation, really, are facing,” Owen said.

Councilman Mark McBrayer says this is a good budget, but he wanted to take a step back, concerned about the economic struggles families in his district are facing. He is the one councilmember who voted against the budget and property tax rate.

McBrayer also asked about capping raises for city workers who make six figures.

“Leaving the 4 percent raise for those under a $100,000, but capping those who are above. Again, just because I, most folks in this town, in my district, they probably have not gotten that raise,” McBrayer said.

The proposed budget also includes a $0.60 drop in residential rates for storm water drainage.

Council will host its second reading of the budget and vote on the new tax rate on Sept. 12 at 2 p.m. in Citizens Tower.