Briargate residents will likely see a question on the November ballot to ensure that everyone within the neighborhood pays an equal share of property taxes for maintenance of public spaces, such as medians and parks.
The current special improvement maintenance district for Briargate taxes many, but not all, property owners within the neighborhood about $100 a year to cover maintenance costs of about 70 irrigated acres and some additional properties. If approved, a new general improvement district would be created to replace the existing one and include an additional 2,268 properties that are currently in the neighborhood but not taxed. The problem has existed in the neighborhood for decades.
“This is a tax inequity issue,” said Councilman Randy Helms, during a meeting on Tuesday.
Helms and other board members seemed supportive of the ballot question, but they delayed a vote on the ballot question to allow for the city attorneys to adjust the ballot language. The council wants to make it clear to voters in the question that the new improvement district would replace the existing district and the city will not introduce double taxation.
The proposed district would charge all residents 4.409 mills or about $100 a year. The new larger district would generate $1.5 million for maintenance up from the $1.1 million it generates currently, according to a city presentation.
The new revenue is needed to cover the costs of maintaining properties along main corridors, such as Lexington Drive, Research Parkway and Union Boulevard, said Eric Becker, special improvement maintenance district administrator. The district’s revenues have been largely flat since 2009 and have not kept up with the cost of labor and water. So the district cut back on staff, water and materials from 2016 through 2019, his presentation said. The district also didn’t replace trees or equipment during that period.
A few residents also spoke in support of the idea to fix the taxing inequality and raise more money for the district and asked for the ballot language to be more clear.
“The issue here is lack of funding, but the problem causing the issue is a tax inequity,” said Tom Hayden, who serves on the advisory committee to the district.
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