Calls for infrastructure improvement grow, but at what expense?

Calls for infrastructure improvement grow, but at what expense?

Amarillo city officials face an ongoing quandary from the citizens they serve. The citizens complain about lack of or inadequate city services.

The city has boosted police spending by 34 percent and animal management by 59 percent since 2010, but there are still complaints about streets and roads, lighting, traffic engineering, bus routes, police and fire protection. Residents want the city to invest more in those services.

The issue? City Management is making departments "scrub" their budgets to make them lean; they can only save so much. While sales tax is single largest source of revenue for the city and has steadily grown, the city has little control of whether they go up or down or how fast.

This leaves property taxes to pay for updating suffering infrastructure and making improvements to services around the city as requested.

Amarillo's property tax rate is the second lowest in the state for similar cities, and politicians aren't shy about telling people about that and saying that's what the public wants.

So what will it be? Get closer to Lubbock's tax rate at almost 54 cents? Or more debt? Amarillo has about $290 million compared to almost $1 billion for Lubbock.

Our perspective makes us wonder: How does the city balance these competing interests? And what is the solution?

This is a difficult question. What do the people really want? Give us your perspective?

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