Conroe City Council previously discussed adopting the voter-approval tax rate of $0.428 per $100 valuation during a Sept. 7 workshop meeting. However, during a Sept. 8 regular meeting, Council Member Curt Maddux requested to cut $150,000 in external audits from the fiscal year 2022-23 budget to allow a lower tax rate of $0.4272 per $100 valuation.

The city's tax rate was $0.4375 in FY 2021-22.

During a Sept. 7 workshop meeting, interim Director of Finance Collin Boothe asked council members if they would be adopting the voter-approval tax rate or adopting a different tax rate. Despite council members agreeing to approve the voter-approval tax rate the following day, Maddux proposed the $0.4272 tax rate at the regular meeting Sept. 8. The voter-approval tax rate is the maximum rate a city may set without needing voter approval.

“That [lower tax rate] would give the citizens the small tax break; it would protect the extra jobs for fire and police. ... It would add money to our bottom line in the general fund. ... I feel like this would be a win-win for Conroe,” Maddux said Sept. 8.

According to Maddux, he and Boothe spoke the morning of Sept. 8, when Boothe ran calculations and confirmed the rate could be adopted with the elimination of $150,000 in external audits.

Boothe said at the Sept. 8 meeting that lowering the tax rate would decrease the general fund by approximately $96,000. Boothe said, however, he would not feel comfortable lowering the tax rate any further.

“I have real concerns about going lower than $0.4272 as we are adding 10 police officers, planning for 10 more, adding eight firefighters, adding the west side recreation center, taking care of existing staff. ... Landing at the $0.4272 is the lowest part of my comfort level at this point,” Boothe said.

The budget—with the $0.4272 tax rate calculations—was approved 4-1 with Council Member Howard Wood voting against, saying he believed the tax rate could be lowered further. The tax rate was approved separately 4-1 with Wood opposing.