Downtown property tax increase proposed to fund growth

Downtown property tax increase proposed to fund growth

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

A petition is in the works to raise property taxes downtown.

The proposal comes in the form of a Public Improvement District (PID). It would increase taxes by 18 cents per $100 valuation, meaning if a property is assessed at $100,000, the owner would have to pay an additional $180 in taxes. 

Under the plan, the increased funds would go toward better lighting, greater downtown policing, landscaping, and maintenance. 

"They talk about things like streetlights and sidewalks and cleaning up the downtown area which I think everybody is in favor of but my question is, what are they doing with the taxpayer money we're already giving them? Why aren't they doing this already," said Rod Hobson, a downtown property owner who is opposed to the increase.

Hobson said the PID's proposed rate is one of the highest in the state and the plan does not clearly define what the money will be spent on.

"They really won't tell  us what it is they want to do with this," he said. "What do they want to accomplish with this? I mean is this a specific project? If it is, what is the project? And they just say we need to vote this PID in and trust the board and I'm not on board with that."

The governing board will be made up of property owners and/or representatives. Any decision the board makes must be approved by city council.

"They're not some autonomous thing over here running," said David Alderson, CEO of Alderson Auto Group. "They do have to report us through the city budget. So everything they do is going to be approved by the city." 

Hobson said he is not against downtown revitalization, he just wants it done responsibly.

"{I want} an end date on the PID and at least a limit on the amount of money the PID can borrow," he said. "I would suggest five million dollars. I can't imagine why we'd want to borrow more than that. I don't want to borrow anything but as long as it's unlimited I'd never be in favor of it and also I think the property owners should be on the board and not employees of property owners."

The PID is still in the early stages. Organizers will need to get the required signatures before submitting the petition to the city. 

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