in Houston, Texas
League City considers returning surplus funds to taxpayers
Wednesday, Jul 25, 2012, 11:22AM CST
By Curt Olson
money jar

League City Council will take a few more weeks to determine whether to give back money to city taxpayers.

You read that right — give back to taxpayers.

Three options are on the table for the city with $3 million in reserves being eyed by council members, the Galveston Daily News reports:

  • A tax rebate, possibly as high as 8 percent. That would mean an $83 rebate for the owner of a $170,000 home. Councilmen Mick Phalen and Mike Lee had this item on Tuesday night’s agenda, but it was pulled for a later meeting, possibly by August 14.
  • A 1- to-6-cent tax reduction. Council has preliminarily given approval to a 1-cent cut to the tax rate, from $0.61 per $100 of taxable value to $0.60.
  • Taking a dent out of the city’s $78 million in city debt, the plan favored by City Manager Mike Loftin. Loftin says applying the $3 million to the city’s debt give city taxpayers a tax-rate cut to $0.597 per $100 of taxable value.

It defies conventional wisdom when any public entity gives back to taxpayers, but it has happened in Spring Hill, Tenn., which has a Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. The push for TABOR-style requirements has received the most attention in Colorado, which awaits a decision on a legal challenge.

In League City, the Council may be trying to stay in good graces with taxpayers after voting 4-2 in late June to spend $75 million to build a new police station and other infrastructure improvements. That’s in addition to the $78 million in general obligation debt targeted by Loftin, League City spokeswoman Kristi Wyatt confirmed to Texas Watchdog.

***
Contact Curt Olson at curt@texaswatchdog.org or 512-557-3800. Follow him on Twitter @olson_curt.

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Photo of money jar by flickr user Tax Credits, used via a Creative Commons license.

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