December 6, 2022
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At the Muleshoe City Council meeting Monday night, council considered Ordinance O-537-0922 Setting 2023 Tax Rate.

Council seconded and approved a motion to set the rate for Maintenance and Operations at .610458, Interest and Sinking at .135506 for a total of .745964. It was moved that the property tax rate be increased by the adoption of a tax rate at .745964, effectively a 2.92 percent increase in the tax rate.

During remarks at the end of the meeting, council member Earl Behrends said, “I take pride in sitting up here. I work hard and so does (city manager Ramon Sanchez) to make sure that we don’t raise taxes. We just voted and approved on a deal that although we didn’t raise taxes, it says we did, and I don’t like that.”

Mayor Colt Ellis pointed out that the tax rate in 2021 for the city of Muleshoe was .784100, which is .038136 higher than this year’s rate.

“The tax rate that we approved tonight was .745964, so we’re almost 4 cents less per hundred, even though all the information that we legally had to say tonight said we increased taxes,” Ellis said.

“The last paragraph says ‘the tax rate will effectively be raised by 2.9 percent,’” Behrends added.

Sanchez said that about five years ago, the wording was changed from “effective tax rate” to “roll back tax rate.”

“So there was no new revenue in the voter approval rate, but, if you go anything above the no new revenue, it is considered an increase, even though our tax rate is lower,” he said. “If the tax rate is lower, but our tax base is higher, our rate has to be raised to generate the same amount of dollars that we get last year. So if we do that, then we adopt the no new revenue.

“So if we propose the voter approval rate, it is considered higher than last year’s. That is the difference that you’re seeing on that ordinance. The difference between the no new revenue and the voter approval rate. And you’re correct, our rate is 4 cents lower. If we look at the value of a home, base it on $100,000, there is a difference. We’re actually lowering what people are paying on a $100,000 home.”

“By 38 dollars and 13 cents,” Ellis said. “So people will pay less to the City of Muleshoe because we did not increase taxes.”

“We did not increase the tax rate. Correct,” Sanchez said. “However, because of valuations we will collect more revenue. That’s like any other entity in the city. Valuations in the county increase an average of 16 to 20 percent. That makes where the new revenue is coming in from the city.”

Behrends said, “I guess, Ramon, what I was trying to say a while ago is, I have no problem standing up here and raising taxes if we discern that we have to. And if we actually don’t raise taxes but the government makes us say we did, somebody needs to explain a little bit on that.”

“I think clarity’s a good bit to throw in there at the end,” Ellis said. “We did the legal part, but let’s add some clarity.”

Gail M. Williams

Muleshoe Journal Correspondent

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