When Isaac Davila ran for Rosenberg City Council in 2018, he was in favor of lowering taxes. But a lot has changed in a year and a half.
At Tuesday’s meeting, council members held the first of two public hearings on the proposed fiscal year 2020 tax rate.
“For the record, I want to just state again that we’re going to cut approximately $450,000 out of the budget (with the proposed tax rate),” the District 1 representative reminded council.
Earlier this month, council came to a consensus to lower the tax rate a cent and a half. The proposed budget was prepared utilizing a 41.5 cents per $100 valuation tax rate applied to the certified taxable property values. The current tax rate is 43 cents.
“My district especially is the poorest district that needs attention,” Davila continued.
“There’s areas that you get a hard rain and you can’t flush the toilet. I know because I live in one. But I’m not worried about my street. There’s a lot of others.
“And this money that we’re cutting out of the budget could be used in areas that need it. There’s so many areas that we need to address and we’re cutting the tax rate because promises we made to cut the tax rate.
“This is an old city. It’s up to us to make sure these areas are addressed.”
Mayor Bill Benton asked if council has actually cut any money out of the budget. Assistant City Manager Joyce Vasut assured council that the proposed budget would not cut any city services. Benton then asked Davila where council cut the budget.
“Well, we’re not taking care of areas that we need to,” Davila responded. “We are not addressing the needs of this city. We need to invest this money in areas that need it. And we don’t have to lower the tax rate just to lower it.”
Benton said the city cannot be fixed in one fiscal year.
“Since you’ve been here, have we not replaced any sewer lines?” Benton asked Davila. “I asked you a question. We have. All over your district.”
Davila said there are other areas in the city that need help.
“And we will get to them,” Benton asserted.
No citizens spoke during the public hearing. On Aug. 27, the council will hold a public hearing on the budget and a second public hearing on the tax rate. And on Sept. 3, council is scheduled to approve the 2020 fiscal year budget, ratify the budget and adopt the tax rate.