Nobody Testifies at City’s First Public Hearing on Proposed Property Tax Rate

By George Slaughter

Mayor Bill Hastings presents a proclamation to, from left, Ellen Swepston, Laurel Cull, and Stephanie Kinghorn of the Star of Destiny Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution – George Slaughter photo

Nobody testified at the first public hearing Monday on the City of Katy’s proposed property tax rate to fund its proposed $32 million 2019-2020 city budget.

The proposed property tax rate is $0.48 per $100 valuation, a decrease from last year’s $0.48672 per $100. The rate decrease comes as overall property tax revenues increase due to continued residential development in Cane Island, Falls at Green Meadows, Lilac Bend, the Reserves of Katy, and Young Ranch.

The city expects that $10.6 million will come in property tax revenue, a 19% increase, from last year’s actual total of $8.7 million. Property taxes are the second-largest source of city revenue.

Sales taxes are the largest source of city revenue. Officials estimate $10.3 million will come in sales tax revenue, or 18 percent decrease from last year’s actual of $12.5 million, according to the latest numbers compiled August 23.

The reduction reflects a caution on the part of city officials. City Administrator Byron Hebert said the city expected more sales tax revenues last year, but it didn’t happen because of changing consumer trends that favor online purchases instead of in-store purchases.

City revenues also come from services (budgeted for $2.5 million), grants ($764,000), licenses and permits ($1.1 million), and other sources.

The $32 million proposed budget provides for four new positions in the police department, four new positions in the fire department, two new inspectors in the permits and inspection department, and a city project manager. The proposed budget is a 13% increase from last year’s budget.

The proposed budget also calls for a 3% cost-of-living increase for city employees. Last year’s budget included a similar increase.

Monday’s hearing was the first of two hearings. The city is scheduled to hold a second public hearing at 5 p.m. next Monday at City Hall. The council will vote on whether to adopt the tax rate at its next regularly scheduled meeting, set for 6:30 p.m. September 23 at City Hall.

The budget, if passed, goes into effect October 1.

City Updates Recycling Policy

The city announced last week that it will no longer accept glass as a recyclable item.

In a statement, the city said the change is due to the decline in exporting recyclables to China. Glass has become less cost-effective to recycle, and as a result, recycling programs are no longer accepting glass.

The city said glass is now being sent to a landfill instead.

Items accepted by the city for recycling are flattened cardboard, metal cans, paper, and plastic bottles and jugs. Recyclables must be empty, clean, and dry, and not bagged.

Items not accepted by the city for recycling are construction waste, clothing and shoes, construction waste, diapers, electronics and batteries, food, glass, greasy pizza boxes, medical waste, polystyrene foam, soiled paper, scrap metal, tools, toys, and yard waste.

This policy affects only City of Katy homeowners.

Other Actions Taken

In other action, the council:

  • Issued a proclamation recognizing September 17-23, 2019 as Constitution Week. The proclamation was requested by the Star of Destiny Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.
  • Reviewed the city’s bank statement and check register through July 31.
  • Approved a $690 annual membership dues payment to the Harris County Mayors’ & Councils’ Association.
  • Authorized Mayor Bill Hastings to sign an interlocal agreement with the Texas Department of Public Safety for the Failure to Appear Program.