• September 19, 2019

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Odessans lost their voice on huge debt - Odessa American: Letters To Editor

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Odessans lost their voice on huge debt

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Posted: Sunday, August 25, 2019 6:30 am

Debt, depending on its source can be “good, bad, or ugly”, but it is still debt.

While Odessan’s were seeking a way out of the summer’s heat, busy with their children or school vacation; the city fathers were making plans. Absence, distractions, hot weather and inattention to local government provided the opportunity; and thus, the mayor and our city council seized upon the opportunity to have their ugly way with us. A past Gallup Poll indicated nearly 45% of tax payers disliked property taxes more than any other. This bill comes by the mail directly to them.

The state of Texas legislated new rules in this, their, tax reform year to; implement proper notice of forthcoming debt issues. Notice is a key issue in Texas for 2020.

Beginning Sept. 1,  Texas local governments must post Notice of Debt Obligation in a more conspicuous manner. (new) 45 day Legal Notice must be posted on the City or County (new) websites and on their (new) bulletin boards.

Our city was in a hurry to avoid giving proper notice under the forth coming new rules. Legal notices were only posted two days in the Odessa American. The city’s web pages and bulletin board were void of any notice in either the English or Spanish languages. Other, more clearly transparent, Texas cities were already posting in these places.

Voters were not allowed to decide on this issue. Two city council meetings provided notice. One for the resolution to the debt obligation, the other; was a first and final approval. Of all citizens that spoke on these occasions, there was no support given to this, non-election debt obligation. All speakers voiced concern that the public was not given a detailed report for the use of the funds and that the public was not given a chance to approve the non-specific uses of their property tax money.

Our local, (all) governments, tax valuation appraisal district was swamped with protests of increased property valuations. Protests were up 38% from last year. The Texas appraisal districts have new legislative rules that go into effect for the 2019/2020 tax year. These rules include more transparency and more notice.

This city’s revenue, from increased property tax appraisals and new construction, will provide the city with (+)21% more money without a tax rate increase. Homeowners: your tax bill will go up. Some apartments were hit with increases of up to 300%. This increase will be passed right along. Renters; your rent will go up. You need to attend the next city council and push for a lower rate. The income approach of valuation leads to a circular argument; the higher the rent, the higher the taxes, the higher the taxes, the higher the rent. Better government reasoning can avoid circular arguments.

Please attend the next two city council meetings to ask for a lower rate. The current rate will yield a huge increase in revenue. Your tax bill is going up.

Odessa, TX

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