Friday, July 1, 2016

Wylie Tax Rate Kept Artificially High

Photo credit:www.zazzle.com
Amazing, truly amazing. According to the Wylie News article Collin College to Build Newest Campus in Wylie, they wrote, "The Collin College Board of Trustees have announced plans to build a new campus in Wylie on 43.68 acres donated by the city of Wylie." This new campus is anticipated to be complete in about three years.

This is amazing news for two very distinct reasons. First, because the new campus will be a boon for property values as well as the dual-credit and graduating students within Wylie ISD, which you can read about in the superintendent's blog.  Also amazing, because the city donated 43.68 acres of land, behind closed doors, and still has the audacity to whine about not having enough funds for all the expenditures for the upcoming 2016-'17 budget.

Now before anyone picks up the pitchforks and torches and makes their way to burn a cross on my front lawn, I get it. I totally get why they handed land once promised to Wylie's tree-huggers as parks and blackland prairie, over to Collin College. The negotiations took a decade and this was the final push needed to lure the campus here. Eh, so the free-love, kumbaya singing hippies lost their land. Evidently they were just a casualty in Wylie's kingdom building scheme.

And yes, I agree this is a huge bonus for Wylie with what will be a massive influx of students, faculty and staff that will be dining and shopping here, and increasing our sales tax revenue, restaurant and store selections and property values exponentially. But that growth comes with a price as well, with the anticipation of traffic snarls and congestion that would make Los Angeles freeway drivers weary. One can only hope they build some new roads to accommodate.

However, the point here is that the city handed over a massive parcel of land in one hand and stabbed taxpayers in the back with the other hand, by holding the ridiculously inflated property tax rate stable. It is especially unconscionable when you hear just how much money they netted with the massive property valuation hike Collin County bestowed upon us for the coming year.

Like clockwork every year, city manager Mindy Manson began her annual tap dance and sandbag routine during the budget overview, telling council members that the $2.9 million projected revenue in excess, one of the best excess leaps the city has seen in years I might add, won't be enough because of additional spending requests, and because she intimated the city is under-insured from the hail storm that took place April 11th.

Except that fear of lagging hail claim payout being hinted at actually represents upgrading and remodeling the entire Public Safety Building, instead of just repairing it to pre-storm condition. Of course the insurance claim won't cover a want; it is there to cover needs. No wonder why these city administrators love Wylie so much.

Meanwhile Manson suggested the city hold tight on the ridiculously inflated 86.89 cents per $100 assessed property valuation, just in case the insurance deal doesn't pan out for their total remodel. Boy they see Bubba the taxpayer coming, don't they?

Yet over here in realityville, the 80% of Wylie's homeowners suffering hail damage are working out ways to repair and replace within their means, but city staff thinks taxpayers need to foot the bill with an over-inflated tax rate for yet another year to fund another annual spending spree.

But think on this a bit. Manson has already told council members that staff fully intends to increase spending to take up the rather generous sales and property tax revenue boon, AND they intend to do a full remodel of the Public Safety Building, adding on expenses far beyond repairs that insurance will reasonably cover. This isn't Wylie, this is the land of Oz and the Oompa Loompa's are twerking on our backs.
Courtesy of Wizard of Oz

To add insult to injury, Manson's ever-loving sidekick, Wylie Mayor Eric Hogue tossed out another half-cent decrease suggestion, in hopes that nobody will notice just how little the $161,400 will impact the massive spending spree going on down at city hall.

Do the math. $2.9 million excess less $161.4K half cent decrease = Wylie taxpayers are getting not only screwed, but seriously violated.

The city could literally cut the tax rate by four cents, something the budget can clearly support, and still give them plenty of mad money. This type of cut would finally bring us in line with surrounding cities. Am I the only one who is annoyed that yet another year is going by as city staff gleefully rub their hands together and squeal while looking for creative ways to spend, instead of lowering the tax rate and giving it back to the taxpayers? But hey, at least Wylie city leaders have smiles on their faces while they chime, "I love Wylie!" for the camera.

I suppose you would love Wylie too if you had a massive influx of revenue and massive amounts of moolah expected within three to four years. Just think of the possibilities while you watch the money drain from your bank account.