Saturday, March 15, 2008

Hang on to Your Wallets, the City Council is in Session!

The Council recently approved its most recent Capital Improvement Plan. The city intends to spend $196.4 million dollars (or about $910 for every resident the city had in 2000) on various improvements. A lot of them are worthy. Unfortunately, I'm not sure we can afford them.

Historically, Garland hasn't drawn high-value properties. We don't have the Telecom Corridor that Richardson has, or the Mesquite Rodeo like our neighbor to the south. Because of this, homeowners bear more of a burden of the city's taxation than in other cities.

Our tax rate is, according to the DMN, one of the region's highest at 70.36 cents per $100 value. Almost 44% of that is directed towards debt service. I don't know about you, but if 44% of my income was directed towards long-term debt, I'd start to worry about my financial situation. As a city, we seem to be addicted to debt, and that's not a good thing. In fact, with the recent housing bubble, our ratio of debt to value still went up, especially with the 2004 bond election.

How can our city go on a financial diet? Leave your ideas in the comments.


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