It was standing room only at this morning's Midland City Council meeting on the 2010-2011 budget. Turns out, people weren't there to talk budget, they were more concerned about a proposed 5% property tax increase and things got pretty heated at the meeting.
You've got one side saying don't raise our property taxes and you've got the other side saying if you want city services, taxes have to increase. Mayor Wes Perry said city council has two options. One, raise sales taxes, which the state says no you can't or two, go to property taxes, which they hope to do. And, now you have a room full of people today saying there's a third option…cut the budget from within instead of raising taxes.
Mayor Wes Perry was in the hot seat several times during the budget meeting.
"I still don't believe that there's no fraud, waste or inefficiency in this government," said one concerned citizen at the meeting.
"I truly believe that this is an efficient budget. You have decided that it is not. The question is how inefficient? You've assured it's more then 5%," answered Mayor Wes Perry.
For the last 8 months, the city has put together a budget. One they believe is well trimmed, but it does include a 5% increase on property taxes. Which a lot of the people at the meeting said that’s a problem.
There is room to cut the city budge, "There has to be. Let me put it this way, if there is not there still has to be cuts," explains Jason Moore, a small business owner.
Cuts, from so-called unnecessary spending.
"There's areas where the city shouldn't even be involved, let's say for instance the golf course, there is no constitutional mandate for the State or Federal Government that says cities provide golf courses," says Moore.
"But, at the same time our golf course we took in-house generated a quarter of a million dollars this year and we're looking to take services like that, that generate revenue," explains Councilman Jerry Morales.
According to Morales the golf course is no extra cost to tax payers because it makes money for the city. But, after this meeting Morales says as a council member he's open to taking a closer look at the budget and see if there is unnecessary spending.
"That's the story I've been trying to share, this is not you or I or we, this is we're in this boat together," says Morales.
"There's been suggestions that we get revenue from other places, why can't we live with the revenue we have, I have too," said another concerned person at the meeting.
This decision by no means is a win-win situation in anyone’s shoes. You've got a group like the Midland Convention Visitors Bureau saying, if the city doesn't increase taxes, they have to lay people off. But, you have other groups saying there's a better way to do this without anyone losing a job or losing money.