During the September 24th Town Council meeting, the Council officially approved Westlake's new 2018-19 budget which included a municipal property tax rate change of $0.01985. The new rate will now be $0.15600 per $100 valuation, up slightly from $0.13615, averaging around a $199/year increase on a $1M home.
Town Council spent many hours in making this decision and took part in several meetings and open forums where residents could learn more about the new tax rate and ask any questions they may have. During those meetings/forums, elected officials discussed the Town's past financial trends and analyzed the five-year financial forecast as presented by Town staff. These discussions led to the change in the Town's financial policies as they relate to our municipal property tax rate and its role in Westlake's financial sustainability, including setting next year's tax rate and the recommended number of operating days to maintain in our General Fund (or operations account).
Our Town Council and staff have always viewed any use of public funds through a conservative lens and in so doing, have maintained a strong General Fund balance. This fund's health provides for our local service delivery, has earned us an excellent bond rating, and positions us for the future. This new tax rate will ensure future fiscal health for the Town.
“In determining our recommended tax rate, the staff conducted an in-depth analysis of our current and projected trends relative to our fund balance and our operational costs over the current fiscal year, prior to presenting the budget to the Town Council. The rate will help stabilize our general fund and will also help mitigate the volatility we experience with our sales and use tax revenue stream”, says Assistant Town Manager, Amanda DeGan.
While the new tax rate of $0.15600 is above the effective tax rate (which is the rate designed to generate the same amount of revenue as the previous fiscal year), it remains lower than our first property tax rate set in 2010 of $0.16010. The new rate would increase the amount a home valued at $1M pays by approximately $199 per year.
This change would also keep us in the bottom 5% of ALL Texas municipalities relative to our property tax rate, and well below many of our neighboring cities and towns. Should you have any questions about the new fiscal year budget and tax rate, please contact Assistant Town Manager Amanda DeGan for assistance at 817-490-5175.
by: Jon Sasser