" The following is from The Plano Citizens' Coalition. The members of their city budget committee have been combing through the budget. They have found line items that have not been used in over three years. They also found wasteful line items. Plano Citizens' Coalition members sat down with the city staff and council members, and gave them suggestions of things that can be cut or reduced in the budget. Their budget committee is made up of accountants, teachers, tech professionals, business men, and moms. All are residents of Plano.
This is Plano's Political Pit Bull Signing Off.
"After the budget workshop meeting on Saturday, August 18 and other disinformation being
bandied about by the city’s apologists, this battle boils down to a few very simple facts.
Plano taxpayers have seen their city tax bills increase at more than five times the rate of
inflation, increasing the City Property taxes on the average home in Plano by 39.7% in
the last five years. This is unsustainable … it has to stop … adopting the Effective Tax
Rate (ETR) does this.
Adopting the ETR means that the city would have to find a way to survive with only
about a 3.6% increase in property tax collections (approximately $7 million from new
properties) rather than a 7.1% increase in its property tax budget (approximately $13
million). After increasing the city’s property tax collections by over 39% in the past four
years, there is no reason that the city can’t slow down and live with only a $7 million
(3.9%) increase for next year.
It’s not complicated.
It’s not about carry forwards.
It’s not about sales taxes (which are forecast to be $5 million over budget in 2018). In
fact, one of the issues is that the budget only includes $79 million for sales tax
collections for next year even though actual collections have been at least $85 million for
the last 12 months. This intentional under-budgeting of sales tax revenue is part of what
causes the city to say it needs to collect more property taxes and cannot reduce the
property tax rate.
It’s not about restricted account funds - the City has over $500 million of cash and
It’s about competent management. It’s about our city council making our city
management, exercise fiscal constraint. It’s about our city council providing oversight
and representing the taxpayers of Plano.
In addition, the city wants to increase our water rates by 12% and sewage by 5% which is totally
unnecessary. Yet they paid an outside firm $21,000 for a several hundred-page report to justify
over-charging us for water. The city charges the water and sewer fund $8.7 million for the right
to do business in the city, saying that is what they would charge a privately-owned water utility,
similar to how they charge Atmos Energy) the gas utility). There are no costs associated with
this franchise fee, it’s just another way to get revenue from the citizens. Similarly, they charge
$1.8 million as a charge in lieu of property taxes but government-owned properties are not
charged property taxes in Texas. These and other made up charges to the Water & Sewer
Department are a hidden tax. When the city says our property taxes are low, you need to add
another 4 cents to the rate to account for these hidden taxes.
Now is the time to speak up/show up. City council needs to know you are paying attention.
Mayor Harry said he expects only 2 people to show up. Let’s pack the auditorium!
The first public hearing on the budget is Monday, August 27 at 7pm.
The second public hearing on the budget is Wednesday, September 5 at 6:30pm.
Let them know you want them to cut the property tax rate by 3 cents (effective tax rate). It IS
doable regardless of what they tell you. It is up to us to insist on it. BTW, it will not require they
cut any city services, jobs, or incur debt. Those are scare tactics used to silence taxpayers.
If you would like to speak on Monday or just register your opposition, you can call the City
Secretary's Assistant, Alice at (972) 941-7515. She will record your opinion or speaker card.
Tell Alice that you want to register your opinion on Public Hearing Item #1. Council should vote
"No" to the proposed tax rate of $0.4603 cents. This is the first of two required public hearings
on the proposed tax revenue increase. The second public hearing will be held on September 5,
2018 at 6:30 p.m.
You can reach all city council members directly at: email@example.com
You may also contact city council members individually at:
Mayor Harry LaRosilere: firstname.lastname@example.org, 972-941-7107
Ron Kelley: email@example.com, (972) 941-7107
Angela Miner: firstname.lastname@example.org, 972-941-7107
Anthony Ricciardelli: email@example.com, 972-941-7107
Rick Grady: firstname.lastname@example.org, 972-941-7107
Kayci Prince: email@example.com, 972-941-7107"