Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope said the city is working to be good stewards of taxpayer's dollars.
He joined us in-studio Thursday afternoon and said paying for projects in cash is step one in doing that. One example, the city's budgeted $10 million up-front for street maintenance next year. That's $1.5 more than this past year. The mayor said that gives the city flexibility.
"We need to have the fiscal discipline to provide cash to take care of our streets. What it does is it means we're not going back to citizens and asking for debt to do deferred maintenance. Take care of what you have, that's the 'job one' -- embrace growth ,that's the other part -- but this is the most difficult part of this job," he said.
The proposed budget includes a one-cent increase to the property tax rate. When council earlier approved law enforcement and other safety projects, a one-cent increase was expected on last year's rate, followed by a two-cent increase with this budget. Because of growth within the city, Pope said the budget is able to include the one-cent increase, instead.
The rate increase is also on top of an average five percent increase in property appraisals around the city.
The city is also reducing storm water fees in this next year. It's expected to go down 17% across the board.
"The debt that was issued 20 years ago to fund those stormwater projects is now rolling off -- we've paid it off. We don't plan to issue debt for big storm water projects going forward. So over time, we should be able to reduce these rates. Now, they won't go to zero -- we still have to run a storm water business, there's some fees that we have to have that're mandated by the state -- but it's relief for taxpayers,"
Mayor Pope also gave us an update on the many construction projects going on around town. He said Citizens Tower will be in use by the end of 2020, on time and under budget. The savings will be used for parking.
The first police substation will break ground next month.