Tax Smack

It certainly shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone in Wylie because I've been saying this for years now, but Wylie has the highest tax rate in Collin County.  But did you know that it is also higher than any city in Dallas County as well?

Finally the Wylie News is actually living up to the 'news' portion of its name and reporting news everyone needs to know. In this week's paper, the article It's all in the numbers points out that our city is raping us plain and simple.  OK those are my words, but the fact remains.

The tax rate, after a couple pittance size tax rate decreases the city handed to us the past two years took us from .899 to .88. Gee, how generous.

At .88 the next lowest in Collin and Dallas Counties is .797 and that's the portion of Dallas that is in Collin County. Still, the difference is really staggering when Chad Engbrock tossed in the fact that Plano's 2013 rate was only .4866. Now I get it, we aren't the size of Plano, but at the ridiculous rate of .88 we had better have every freaking amenity Plano has.  But we don't. No Amphitheater. No public pools. No gorgeous hiking and biking trails. Nie.

You must be wondering just how we got here? Through the taxing smack down by our City Councils through the years. We needed infrastructure. We needed fire stations. We needed an upgraded police station. We needed a fancy city hall that nobody can decide is beautiful or downright ocular abuse. We needed parks updated. We needed summer concerts. We needed all manner of things to make us more attractive, and the spending spree went on as our property values began increasing.  Then 2008 sucker punched us right in the gut.

Home values began decreasing and the City scrambled to pay for all these fancy new things they said we needed.  As the decline continued, they said we needed new quints, and police vehicles, and I was left wondering why the hell we did not have the replacement of such depreciable items already in our budget?

The fix consisted of cutting the summer concert series and department budgets by teensy measures compared to the downward spiral the country was in. They put employee pay on hold for 3 years, then as revenue began to ramp up with all the new discount shopping stores, they claimed they wanted to take money from our rainy day fund to give employees raises.

To do so they planned to raid the rainy day fund and that is when I went ballistic. The spending spree during difficult economic times was beyond ridiculous. I understand wanting to give a raise to employees, but they were going to take rainy day funds for this, that is until they found out they should keep a fund of at least 25% of total revenue. So instead they raided the contingency fund for the pay increase, which they desperately tried to call a one time lump sum payment.

Looking back, it wasn't a one time anything because they hit the budget again the following year for even more pay increases and have done so every year since.  It remains to be seen what they plan to do with increases this year as we just  now get into budget season.

We got our new quints and PD vehicles, and the tax revenue has continued to roll in at increasing numbers and the taxpayers footing the bill? We got a lousy 1 and a half cent decrease in our taxe rate over the last two years.  Whoopee.

As the City continues to take in considerably more in tax revenue each year, their budget is woefully slight in their estimations of that revenue, so what are they doing with all that extra dough when it rolls in each year? It gets spent. Meanwhile the taxpayers are the ones getting screwed every year, and it doesn't even remotely feel good.

 It is high time this spending spree stops and the taxpayers are given a decent tax decrease. None of this half cent and 1 cent nonsense. It's highly embarrassing to have friends drive to Wylie from other towns and cities and tell them we are the highest taxed city in Collin and Dallas counties. They laugh.

We don't need that reputation any longer. We cannot look forward to massive growth unless property currently owned starts getting sold to developers, because there isn't much in the way of land left to develop. As I see it, this is it. Our best hope is some more retail and industrial development and continuing increase in home values which will continue to bring in a steady increase in tax revenue. It's time to transfer the tax burden from the homeowners to the businesses. Give us back our money!

I suggest citizens get involved in this year's budget meetings. July 29th is the next work session with public  hearings on August 26th and September 2nd. If your city council does not hear from you, they will assume you are completely content with being the highest taxed homeowner in all of Collin and Dallas counties. Definitely not an honor.