Gladewater city council approves tax rate cut

By James Draper

The City of Gladewater’s budget and tax rate were all but ready for a vote Thursday night – a key piece of bookkeeping had to be squared away first, though.
Ultimately, the council members in attendance completed mandatory roll-call votes and unanimously approved the $8.1 million financial plan for Fiscal Year 2024, paid for with a tax rate of 0.626978 per $100 valuation.
That’s a 1.78 percent increase on the current rate, netting the city approximately $46,230 more in taxpayer revenues compared to FY23.
Before they could get to a vote, the city’s elected officials had to hold public hearings and a final budget workshop. They had one with a crucial task at-hand: to balance the budget by eliminating an anticipated $100,000 deficit.
There were two philosophies debated by the council members: take the amount out of the city’s reserves or reduce one of two line items for street work (a combined $540,000).
City Manager Charlie Smith said he was comfortable removing the funds from the streets allocation – not permanently but, rather, in anticipation excess sales tax revenues will inevitably cover the difference with room to spare.
“We’re going to be well over $1 million in our sales tax this year,” he said. “If things continue moving as they are, we’re probably not going to have to touch our reserves.
“I think the City of Gladewater is in a lot better shape than it has been for several years.”
Council members Brandy Flanagan and Teddy Sorrells echoed that plan.
Rather than dip into reserves, “I like the idea of taking that $100,000 that we know exists already in our funds for streets,” Sorrells said, putting it to use now and replacing it when the opportunity comes.
Streets are a key priority for residents, Mayor Scott Owens said, and there’s much work to be done.
“I don’t want to touch the streets (budget). We’ve got a bunch allocated plus we’ve got more that we have to get done.”
Ultimately, Owens agreed the street line items – eventually reduced to $440,000 in the official document – could be adjusted for bookkeeping’s sake.
“There’s been no bigger proponent for getting the streets fixed than me up here,” Flanagan told one community member concerned about the reduction to the roadwork allocation. “We know we have the $100,000-plus more in our reserves that we can pull if we need to. What we don’t want to do is tap into the reserves now with hypotheticals.
“I promise you that we have streets covered. We are working hard on that.”

Facebook Comments