The Coppell Council Chambers were crowded Tuesday night as residents gathered to share their disapproval of the city’s proposed tax rate increase.
For fiscal year 2019-20, the city is proposing a tax rate of $0.58400 per $100 valuation, a 2.55-percent increase from last year. City officials said the increase is necessary due to laws from the recent legislation. In addition, the council is planning to make some large purchases including three fire engines and staffing for a fourth fire station.
Several speakers shared concerns of not being able to pay a higher tax bill and friends and neighbors leaving for other cities with lower tax rates.
“What I see now and have been witnessing for many years, is that we are losing our empty nester citizens because the taxes are too high,” said resident Janet Green. “One by one our friends are relocating to areas around us that have lower taxes and a higher homestead exemption.”
Resident Elaine Hammett said the fact people are leaving is an erosion of the community.
Jan Mcclintock said she moved to Coppell in 1986, raised two kids in the city and taught at Coppell High School for over 23 years. Now retired, Mcclintock said she desires to keep living in Coppell, but her tax bill may be too much to pay on her fixed income.
“It’s important to me that I stay here because this is where I’m grounded,” she said. “This is how important it is to me that you not raise taxes, that you do sharpen your pencils and find some way to reduce it down.”
Some speakers also urged the council to increase the city’s homestead exemption rate, while others spoke on fiscal responsibility and sustainability.
While many were against the increase, a few in the crowd shared support for the council's decision.
“I support what the City Council is doing,” said Gary Tanel. “I know sitting in your shoes, you have an extraordinary job because you see a lot of the details that everybody else doesn’t see.”
Ken Griffin, the city’s former engineering and public works director, said he thanks the council for caring enough about the community to consider raising taxes.
“...I’m proud to live in a community where the investment in my property goes up,” he said. “I’m proud to live in a community where the staff and elected officials are forward-looking and work hard to maintain Coppell as a place to be.”
The City Council is scheduled to adopt the official tax rate and budget at the Sept. 10 meeting.