City of Kilgore considering property tax hike

“The only revenue we really have control over is property tax,” Selleck said.
Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 3:52 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 2, 2021 at 7:32 PM CDT
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KILGORE, Texas (KLTV) - The COVID-19 pandemic created a ripple effect in many aspects of life, one being revenue generated for cities and counties by sales tax. KLTV talked to the city manager of Kilgore about what they are doing to offset a revenue shortage, and it may include a property tax increase.

Kilgore City Manager Josh Selleck said the city had big revenue problems several decades ago.

“It’s the reason that our city council has a budget philosophy that takes into account really dramatic shifts in our revenue,” Selleck said. “We’re not nearly as bad off as we were in the eighties, but we have seen a pretty significant to our revenues over the last few years - between ten and twenty percent over the last few years.”

Now, the city is making some employee changes.

“We have 16 positions currently in the budget that are cut,” Selleck said.

No one will be let go. It will come from attrition.

“The goal is to make metered cuts that have as little of an impact on our citizens as possible,” Selleck said.

He said positions are with the police and fire departments, streets, parks, and event planning, and some will be replaced with part-time staff. They are using about a million a year of reserve funds to make ends meet.

“Right now our reserves are right around ten million dollars in the general fund,” Selleck said.

He said they hope to have new business in place in the next seven years, so the reserve fund won’t be depleted.

However, he said that won’t be enough. Selleck knows residents will not be happy about a tax rate hike, but it will probably happen so all city services can continue.

“The only revenue we really have control over is property tax,” Selleck said.

They haven’t finalized the amount, but expect it to be 5 to 7 cents.

“For a hundred-thousand-dollar home, that’s somewhere between fifty and seventy dollars each year,” Selleck said.

He said he knows it may be a problem for those on a fixed income.

“This is probably the most difficult, most complex budget that I’ve been through in my career,” Selleck said.

He said he’s glad to have such a helpful council to get through it.

Kilgore residents can speak publicly about the budget presentation on August 10 at 5:30 p.m. during the council meeting, or at the two public hearings on August 24 and September 14 at city hall.

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