AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — On Thursday, the Amarillo City Council and city officials met for their second budget workshop this week.
On Wednesday, they focused on the potential property tax rate and proposed changes to the Amarillo Public Library system for the next fiscal year.
Thursday, the Council was briefed on several city services and how potential budget changes could affect them, as well as residents.
“It helps us tremendously, you know. I mean, having them to come in and have the opportunity to really explain to us what all they do, what it encompasses. When you’re talking over multiple, you know, over 30 departments in the city of Amarillo, it’s a lot to take in,” said Josh Craft, Amarillo City Council Member for Place 1. “Seeing how it all, the inner workings and the dynamics of it has been really eye-opening.”
The Council discussed proposed rate increases for drainage utility and solid waste services, as well as street maintenance.
Assistant City Manager and CFO Laura Storrs said the City of Amarillo has been awarded three large-scale grants, two of which are street-related. She said the City will be required to match those grants for about $3 million each.
“One of the tools that we talked about is, there is the ability for city council to issue debt to provide ongoing debt service payments to meet the grant match associated with one or multiple of those projects,” Storrs said. “What that does is it has a lower impact annually, than just paying cash all up front.”
According to Storrs, if the Council went with the highest property tax rate they legally can without calling an election, there would potentially be some additional property tax dollars available.
“So that’s on the table. They could utilize some of those cash dollars, or they could look at a debt issuance and use that available cash funding to do some other projects or some other budget enhancements as council sees fit,” she continued.
No budget decisions are being made yet, and discussions will continue with further workshops.
Craft said residents can expect that the Council will do its due diligence.
“We’re going item by item, we’re taking our time, we’re coming through this budget to make sure that we have a good balanced budget that works for the taxpayers and is in their best interest,” he said.