GET THE FACTS
BUDGET & TAX RATE
FAKE: The City's tax rate is $.77.
FACTS: Apparently Mr. Fletcher relied on bad information from a state agency website, which had an incorrect property tax rate for the City of Burleson. The City's tax rate for FY2019-2020 is $.72 per $100 of valuation. The new tax rate for FY2020-2021 will be $.71 per $100 of valuation.
FAKE: The City Council is only lowering property taxes because they are required to under state law.
FACTS: The City Council made it a priority to provide property tax relief in next year's budget and we just voted to lower the tax rate. In fact, this was the second budget in a row and the third time in five years the City Council has lowered the tax rate. It is correct that the state passed a new law, SB2, which placed new restrictions on how much revenue a city can raise from one year to the next. But under SB2 the City Council actually had the option to RAISE taxes in the new budget. I'm not sure why Mr. Fletcher misrepresented the motivations of the Council. We're lowering the tax rate because WE decided it's the right thing to do.
FAKE: According to Mr. Fletcher, the City's tax rate should be $.30 to $.40 per $100 of valuation.
FACTS: If the City's tax rate were $.40, one of two things would have to happen--either the fire and police budgets would have to be drastically cut or most other general fund functions would have to be eliminated completely.
FAKE: The City's property tax supported debt is more than $150,000,000 and each citizen's share is $3,250, a figure that is not in-line with other similarly situated cities.
FACTS: The Fletcher campaign appears to be relying on bad information from a chart which appears on the Texas Comptroller's Office website. Interestingly, one has to click through a disclaimer warning about the reliability of the information in order to access the misleading data. The actual amount of property tax supported debt owed by the City of Burleson is $69,421,129 which amounts to $1,389 per-capita. Both figures are less than half the amount being incorrectly claimed. The property tax supported debt has been used to finance things like streets, drainage infrastructure, city facilities and critical public safety equipment. Burleson's debt is consistent with other similarly situated cities in Texas.
In addition to the property tax supported debt, the City carries a total of $69,266,294, which is supported by other resources, including water/wastewater and 4A and 4B sales tax revenue. None of this debt is serviced with property tax funds.
FAKE: The city's debt is a result of reckless spending and bad financial management.
FACTS: None of the city's debt has been used on annual operations or management. 100% of the city's debt has been used to finance capital investments. The debt has been used to pay for critical public works and public safety infrastructure to keep up with the city's growth, to generate economic development and build quality of life amenities like parks facilities and the Mayor Vera Calvin Plaza in Old Town. Without these investments, traffic would be more congested, the city would be less safe, we would have fewer parks and great public spaces to enjoy, fewer jobs, lower property values and we would be more reliant on homestead property taxes to support the core functions of the city.
The city's net financial position (similar to an individual's net worth or a business's book value), which accounts for all the city's liabilities and assets, is more than $258,000,000. The capital investments made through the strategic use of debt have created real value, improved quality of life and diversified the tax base. The independent bond rating agencies have judged Burleson as having a long history of strong financial management and have rewarded the city with outstanding bond ratings. Currently, Burleson's S&P rating is AA and the Moody's rating is Aa3.