Amarillo City Council passes higher property tax rate

Amarillo City Council passes higher property tax rate. 

A new property tax rate was passed in Tuesday's Amarillo City Council meeting and it is higher than last year's rate.

It is an 8.33% increase, which means the average homeowner will pay about $40 more a year in property taxes. City officials say it will help fund some important projects, including raises for police officers.

Assistant City Manager, Michele Bonner, says an increase in property value also produced extra revenue.

"Even though the tax rate for the maintenance and operating portion stayed the same because of increasing values and new values, it generated an additional revenue of just under 1.5 million dollars," said Bonner. "We're going to use that money for compensation for our employees."

Bonner says the newly adopted property tax rate with rising property value will give the city a total of around $3.2 million. This will go toward raises for police officers, firefighters and city employees.

"Getting raises affects police officers motivation and I like motivated police officers so I'm glad to see it. The officers did not get a raise last year, so I was glad to see them get one this year."

Chief Drain says the city met with the Amarillo Police Officers Association to set an average pay raise of 2.8% for offices. This 2.8% is not across the board and the raises differ according to rank.

He wants residents to understand that compared to other cities, the total property tax rate is not very high.

"When you're looking at paying .35 or .36 cents per $100 evaluation on your home, compared to a lot of other places that's not a lot of money to be paying to your city and to have employees come to work year after year and they don't get raises at some point you have to figure out a way to get them raises or you won't have employees that are not motivated," said Chief Drain.

Part of the property tax rate will also fund firefighters and city employees. Both will receive an average 1% raise.

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