Amarillo addresses budget woes

Amarillo addresses budget woes
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - City officials are looking into long term improvements for things like infrastructure, utilities and roads as Amarillo continues to grow.

Taxpayers could be asked to help fund that growth.

A one cent property tax increase could generate the revenue needed to fund more than 12 million dollars worth of bonded city projects.

This was one point made to the city council Tuesday evening as officials begin to look for ways to increase city funds.

Amarillo currently has the lowest property tax rate of any city its size in the state.

Increasing that tax is not something the city wants to do, but it is one option to help fund for the future.

Right now the city has a total debt of $288,286,857.

But citizen's property taxes are only responsible for funding $22.6 million of that debt.

The city manager's office is working to develop a plan to increase funding for more capital projects as Amarillo continues to grow, while trying to keep the city's debt low.

"What we've asked our departments to look at is have we been able to fund those programs where you need them to be," said Michelle Bonner, Assistant City Manager. "Like our street department, our parks department; we've asked them to really go back and look at and do a good assessment on what they need, and not only what they need for this year, but what they need for five years."

Bonner hopes to have a new budget proposal prepared to present to city council by the end of May.

The council will then decide how to get this proposed funding, and include the public in the discussion.

Right now no tax increases have been decided on, but it could make a big difference in the way the city can monitor its debt.

"What could we look at to grow our city forward," said Mayor Paul Harpole. "Our city's going to grow exponentially. Our state's going to double in population before 2050. We have to be aware and get ahead of that or we're shirking a duty we have as elected officials."

The council will continue to hear several budget presentations leading to the final capital investment plan proposal at the end of May.

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