Troup residents could see a tax hike if officials adopt a rate that was spurred in part by a mandated water tower project and declining property valuations.
The city is proposing a tax rate of 95 cents per $100 valuation — an 11-cent increase from last year. That means the average homeowner in Troup would pay about $68 more per year.
“Costs have gone up. ... (And) we had a bad budget last year,” Mayor John Whitsell said earlier this month. “I think our income is stated more realistically (this year), and we have to have a balanced budget. We feel like we’ve presented the most conservative budget (possible) without cutting services.”
Interim City Administrator Pat Hendrix has said property valuations in the city dropped $4 million, causing the effective tax rate — the rate needed to maintain current revenues — to go up to 89 cents per $100 valuation.
The state also mandated Troup build a $1.4 million water tower, which the city begins making payments on this year.
As a result of property values and the water tower project, Troup officials had a hard time making the budget, Hendrix said.
No personnel were cut, but cuts were made in every department and in the city’s street program. Hendrix said this means residents won’t see as much street paving as last year.
“To get this thing balanced and get back on our feet, this was one of the things (the city needed to do)…,” he said Thursday. “We’ve tightened our belt as much as we could.”
Additionally, Whitsell has said while the city has had some sales tax revenue increase from alcohol sales, it didn’t feel like it could budget it for the future.
The city also will consider an ordinance increasing water and waste water fees.
If increases are approved, customers using up to 1,000 gallons would pay $7.17 more per month for water and sewer, and customers using up to 5,000 gallons would pay $16.30 more per month. The increases would take effect in October.
Hendrix said Troup hasn’t raised its rates since at least 2007, and is now increasing rates as recommended to help pay for the water tower.
“We’re still very competitive on our water rate. It’s just that we were so low for… years, so we brought it up to where it needs to be,” he said.