Abilene City Council Preview: Boom in Sales Tax Revenue, Incentives to Vaccinate, Potential Netflix Lawsuit | KTAB
ABILENE, Texas (KTAB / KRBC) – Abilene City Council will address several issues at this week’s meeting. Here is a breakdown of some of the more notable.
This week, Abilene City Council and city staff will undergo budget hearings as they finalize the tax rate for the 2021-2022 fiscal year.
City Manager Robert Hanna says the city is financially strong right now.
He says the tax rate will be lowered slightly, not only because the city has paid off its debts, but also because it has experienced a sales tax revenue boom.
âWe’ve seen pretty strong growth, we strongly believe it’s the incentive checks coming from the federal government,â Hanna said.
But just because the tax rate has gone down doesn’t mean your tax bill will go down.
If your home or business was appraised at a higher rate this year, you will pay taxes based on your appraisal rate.
The city reports that until June 2021, sales tax revenue increased by almost 6% compared to fiscal 2020.
Sales tax revenue increased 32% in May and almost 25% in June.
The city expects fiscal 2021 to continue at a more normal pace and end at $ 1.520 million before 2020.
For 2022, the city forecasts a 3.5% increase over the three-year average, which will result in a decrease of $ 47,000 from 2021.
Residents near Grape Street between Franklin and Delano Streets might be happy to know that the giant hole in the ground due to burst pipes will finally be fixed.
This week at city council, members will vote to award a contract to Starks Construction Co., Inc. for $ 88,250.00 to repair the sinkhole.
Greg McCaffery, director of public works, said construction is expected to start next week and take about three weeks.
âOrdinarily we would have granted this in the last round of meetings or before, but they filed for bankruptcy protection, so we wanted to make sure they would be able to complete the job if they received this offer. , and we have these protections in place and believe they can, âsaid Abilene City Manager Robert Hanna.
Council will vote to approve $ 120,000 for a company to survey the streets of Abilene.
The company, Fugro, carried out a survey of the city’s road network again about five years ago to perform what Hanna calls a âthorough checkâ of the streets.
Hanna says it’s just good engineering practice.
TWO-LANE STREETS IN DOWNTOWN?
In efforts to keep moving the downtown hotel forward, you may notice new directions for the downtown streets.
This week at city council, members will vote to approve the creation of two-way streets that are in conjunction with the convention center hotel’s design plans.
âNorth Fifth, so North Fifth will go from one direction to another from Grape to Plum, then from Cypress between Fifth and Sixth as well,â Hanna said.
RENAME THE STREETS FOR CHEESE
The city council will also vote to rename the streets near the future Great Lakes cheese factory with the name of the company as a thank you for the millions of capital investment in Abilene.
THE CITY TO PROMOTE VACCINES FOR EMPLOYEES?
The city is considering vaccine incentives for its employees.
Hanna says as the COVID-19 delta variant becomes more prominent across Texas, the city would like to be proactive in encouraging its employees to have photos taken.
The city is seeking federal funding for such a program.
âThe way we had the planned structure creates an environment in which ARPA funds can be used for all costs to the taxpayer, so that the Abilene taxpayer would not lose money. It would be the federal dollars that would do that, âHanna said.
It’s not clear whether the COVID-19 funding could pay for incentives such as days off or cash incentives, but they will take the idea to city council for further advice.
The city of Abilene could bring a class action lawsuit against big name entertainment companies like Netflix and Disney Plus.
It comes after a Dallas law firm discovered that these companies may not be paying the franchise fees that cable companies are supposed to pay taxpayers.
The law firm has contacted the city of Abilene to see if they would like to join us.
âIt could be a million dollars or more in fees that are owed to Abilene’s taxpayers, so it’s a serious question whether or not the board wants to pursue this,â Hanna said.
Abilene City Council will discuss this possibility at Thursday’s meeting.