Where your increased tax dollars will go

Where your increased tax dollars will go

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - It won't be long before Amarillo residents see their property taxes go up.

The City of Amarillo had its first public hearing on the upcoming fiscal year's budget Tuesday evening.

This year's city budget is about $31.5 million higher than last year.

That increase comes from voter approved property tax increase and higher sewage and drainage fees.

And even with the increase, many projects city departments wanted funded were not included in the budget proposal.

The proposed city budget for the upcoming fiscal year is $359,664,418.

The $31 million increase can be split into three categories:

$25 million for voter-approved bond propositions.

$3 million for bonds for water and sewer upgrades.

$3 million for debt payments related to those bonds.

Most departments did not get extra funding in large part because of those increases.

"We limited some of the increases that staff proposed and departments were hoping to have funded this year," said City Council Member Elaine Hays. "That's just because of the flat level in our general revenues that we really couldn't fund those this year."

More money will also be going into the general fund because of higher property taxes.

Those taxes increased in large part because of the voter-approved increases to fund Propositions 1 and 2 for street and public safety upgrades.

The other reason for the increase is because home values have gone up.

"We did have increases in values and we had new values," said Assistant City Manager Michelle Bonner. "So we're seeing on the maintenance and operating side about a $1.5 million increase in taxes that are going directly into our general fund to help fund our operations."

The majority of that extra revenue will go to increase salaries for and hire more police officers.

Firefighters and city employees will also get small raises from that pool.

"For the most part, the priorities of what the community has stated to us that they want us to address, I feel that those are being addressed in this next budget," said Hays.

The city council is expected to approve the budget and tax rates as proposed this month, and all changes would go into affect beginning October 1st.

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