The Gonzales Taxpayers Association (GTA) appreciates the Inquirer reaching out for facts concerning this important Tax Rollback election.
GTA is asking voters to vote FOR the rollback which will lower our current city tax rate. Please understand GTA is a group of concerned taxpayers that have no objection to a legal, publicly calculated tax increase but do strongly object to the council ignoring our charter provisions, state law and warnings by public tax official.
In 2017, the city assessed taxes were increased by 55.46 percent and in 2018 by 10.9 percent for a cumulative increase of 72.4 percent for the past two years; therefore, increasing our tax rates over the 8 percent state rollback rate each time. This election should have been held when a valid petition was first presented to the city council. We believe the city chose to improperly change their reporting and did not responsibly call for that election.
City leaders have ignored their money management responsibilities. They are unable to show any improvements to our streets, utilities, poles and general maintenance with these increased tax rates and additional revenue from sources like increased utility rates and other fees.
Money has been vastly overspent on legal fees, technology services, certain employees’ salaries and creating a duplicate new department/position. The city does not have a current approved audit report but does have a $27 million budget. Over the last year, zero dollars ($0) was budgeted for street repair or paving. Where does the money go?
Historically, Gonzales does have a lower tax rate primarily because we have owned our electric utility system. These revenues help fund daily operations and maintain our lower tax rate. Our city officials have decided to disband our electric department (the cash cow of the city) and replace that with higher taxes and fees.
If city officials do not take responsibility for curbing expenses, it does not matter how much taxes or service fees increase; there will never be enough money.
Voters are encouraged to vote FOR the rollback election; sending the message to manage our money more conservatively before asking for more.
Thank you for voting FOR the rollback election. Early voting is currently underway this week and Monday and Tuesday of next week. Saturday, March 16 will be Election Day and all votes will be cast at city hall.