Council approves 85.66-cent tax rate

Big Spring City Council members have given their stamp of approval to a tax rate that will bring the city almost $500,000 more in revenue this coming fiscal year.During a special meeting Tuesday afternoon, the council voted unanimously to approve a tax rate of 85.66 cents per $100 valuation for the new fiscal year, which begins in October.The new tax rate is almost one cent below the existing rate, but that doesn't automatically mean city property owners will see a break in their tax bills.“Although the new rate is lower, I want to note that if your assessment went up, you will actually pay more in taxes (this coming year),” City Finance Director Peggy Walker said.Unlike most of the taxing entities within Howard County, the city's overall valuations increased by about 12 percent this year, from $575 million to $642 million. The reason, Walker explained, is that Big Spring's tax rolls were primarily property-driven, while the other entities relied heavily on mineral valuations, which took a nosedive this year.After exemptions, the owner of a $50,000 home in Big Spring can be expected to pay slightly less than $343 in city taxes in the new fiscal year. That compares to $346.02 in city taxes the previous year, Walker said.She noted the new tax rate will bring in $450,000 in additional revenue in the new fiscal year. With that additional money, the city will implement an across-the-board 6 percent pay raise for employees, as well as capital outlays which include money for a new landfill.No other business was discussed during Tuesday's meeting.