New City Budget contains small property tax cut

HOUSTON — In a move that was more symbolic than substantial, City Council passed Mayor Bill White’s budget for fiscal year 2005, and reduced the rate on property taxes by 1/2 cents per $100 valuation. The rate is now 65¢ per $100.

This amounts to only a small reduction of about $4 dollars for the average homeowner with a $100,000 house.

While cutting some jobs and in general trimming the City Budget, Council did approve a new police cadet class. A new item in the budget is a set-aside of $12.5 million for “performance based raises.” Up to a 10% cut in pay is also allowed for poor performance. Police were budgeted at %516 million, Fire dept. at $293 million. The total budget is $1.454 billion, a 3.3 percent increase over fiscal 2004.

Revenues come from property taxes, $671 million, Sales Taxes $371 million, and $410 million of other sources such as fines, fees, and so on.

Most council persons felt that the result was not only a tighter budget, but a new spirit of cooperation between them and the Mayor, which should result in progress in the future, also.