The published tax rate for the city of Plano was set following lengthy debate at a recent council meeting.

Plano City Council approved the publication of an unchanged tax rate of $0.4176 per $100 valuation in a 5-3 vote with council members Anthony Ricciardelli and Shelby Williams, and Mayor

Pro Tem Kayci Prince voting against during the Aug. 14 meeting. The tax rate will be subject to a public hearing and approval during the Sept. 11 meeting.

What happened

Director of Budget and Research Karen Rhodes-Whitley presented several options to council regarding the impact different tax rates would have on the budget. Adopting the no-new-revenue rate of $0.3865 per $100 valuation would require the city to cut $17.7 million from its operating budget. The voter-approval rate with increment—the difference between the voter-approval rate and adopted tax rate for the last three years—of $0.4355 per $100 valuation would result in $16.96 million in additional general fund revenue.

The $0.4355 per $100 in value is the highest possible rate the city can publish without triggering a tax election. Using part of the tax increment, the city will publish a tax rate of no more than $0.4176 per $100 valuation.

City Manager Mark Israelson said a higher tax rate and more revenue would give him more flexibility to match pay increases proposed by other cities. However, he clarified that staff would still get the proposed 3% increase for all employees.

“I think that the salary survey information is very important since salaries are typically 60%-70% of our budget,” Israelson said. “I think it’s critically important we keep up, but there’s more than one way to go about that.”

Quote of note

Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Maria Tu advocated for a higher published rate to avoid having to cut areas from the budget or amend fund transfers to save money.

“For the past four years, we cut our budget to the bones because we want to make sure that our constituents understand that we’re trying to save them money,” Tu said. “When we cut infrastructure spending [or] compensation so our great staff starts looking for other places to go and start having to move money from one pocket to another, are we really doing something that is in the best interest of Plano?”

What’s next?

With the published tax rate, council and staff will continue to have budget discussions, including at a budget work session Aug. 17.