Kyle citizens spoke out Aug. 19 against the city’s proposed property tax rate increase for the 2015-16 fiscal year.

The Aug. 19 meeting was the first of two public hearings on the proposed 2015-16 tax rate set at $0.6145 per $100 property valuation.

All of the increase on the current fiscal year’s tax rate—$0.0762 per $100 property valuation—is allocated to pay off the city's debt. However, Kyle officials are proposing that the maintenance and operations tax rate stays the same.

In 2013 voters in the city approved a $36 million bond to improve five major thoroughfares: Bunton Creek Road, North Burleson Street, Goforth Road, Lehman Road and Marketplace Avenue.

Construction on the first road project, Marketplace, is expected to begin in October.

Many residents asked Council to consider other means of finding the funds necessary to pay off the city’s debt.

Former City Council member Mattie Welch said she is on a fixed income and cannot afford a tax rate increase because it would mean less funds for necessities such as groceries and medication.

“Is there another way to get the money you need other than taxing the people out of their homes?” she said.

Allison Pflaum, a landlord and real estate agent who lives in Plum Creek, said the tax rate increase is causing many landlords to raise rent on their tenants who are instead moving into apartments.

“We are seeing a lot of apartment growth, which is helping the big guys, but it’s not helping the little guys,” Pflaum said. “You’re making home ownership more difficult in raising the taxes, and you’re forcing people into apartments.”

New Kyle resident Denise Quinterri said she has seen tremendous growth in the short time she has lived in the city. She said the tax rate is increase does not make sense because more homes and businesses are moving to Kyle.

“I just wonder what is the point of this growth if all it is doing is causing people .. to not be able to afford their home anymore?” she said. “What is the point of this growth if the only thing that happens from it is that the existing homeowners have to pay to bring in more growth?”

Council members Daphne Tenorio and Diane Hervol said they believe there is 'wiggle room' in the budget to lessen the burden on taxpayers.

Tenorio asked citizens to review the proposed budget, which can be found on the city’s website, and determine their priorities within the budget.

“Go through the budget,” she said. “Tell us what is important to you. Personally for me fire safety, police safety, those things are very big issues for me. Is there some stuff I can see leaving out? Yes.”