Property taxes in Early may continue falling with the announcement of three more business looking to relocate.
Following a second public hearing for a 1-cent reduction in city property taxes, prompted by increased sales tax revenues, Early City Administrator Tony Aaron announced discussions regarding potentially three new businesses joining the tax rolls.
“We have three deals we’re working on with national-level retailers that we hope to be announcing in the near future,” Aaron said. “I can’t give anymore details than that. I think it will be some good projects if we can get them to take that last step. It’s right around the corner.”
In July, the city council approved 4-1 to put the property tax rate increase up for a pair of public hearings with the last public hear set for Tuesday, which also coincided with the council’s final workshop for its 2019 budget. The reason the vote did not pass unanimously was councilman Leeland Acker requested to keep the rate at the 1.5 reduced rate Aaron originally propped. When Aaron first proposed the property tax decrease, he attributed it to increased revenue with a new Holiday Inn Express, Hobby Lobby, Burger King and many other sales-tax generators either open for business or in the process of opening.
Aaron based Early’s proposed $6.8 million annual budget on a 1.5-cent drop in property tax, but the council decided 4-1 to keep it at 1-cent in order to create a rainy day fund or additional funds for capital improvement projects. An example is McDonald Park Sound Garden, which the city approved allocating $13,600 to assist in purchasing equipment, and is currently slated to open in mid-September to coincide with the Early Texas Showcase.
“Most of that is due to the growth in our economy,” Aaron said in July while proposing the original 1.5-cent reduction. “Another thing you’ll factor into this is we, the city, adopted 1.5 of a percent for property tax reduction so a half of a percent of our sales tax is calculated into this rate to help keep this property tax low. Your predecessors were already leaving that rate reduction. When our sales taxes go up, it automatically pushes our property tax down.”
Aaron wrapped up Tuesday’s administrator’s report with another economic development announcement, which also included a slew of new businesses coming to Early. Aaron announced occupants have begun leasing space in a new business center currently under construction behind the Chicken Express south of the Heartland Mall.
“Gene Russell’s development behind the Chicken Express, we know of at least two — possibly three — businesses that are going in there, which would leave him with only two empty spots and one big one. Most of what we’re seeing is a few local and maybe one nationally recognizable business chain,” Aaron said.
The city council vote whether to finalize its 2019 budget during its Sept. 8 meeting 6 p.m. Tuesday inside Early City Hall.