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The public is invited to speak before members of the Gainesville City Council about the 2019-2020 proposed budget and tax rate at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 3.

The hearings will take place during the regularly scheduled council meeting inside the Municipal Building, 200 S. Rusk Street.

This is the second public hearing on the city’s proposed tax rate of 70 cents per $100 of assessed property value.

No one spoke for or against the tax rate during the first public hearing Tuesday, Aug. 20.

Two public hearings are required if the proposed tax rate is above the effective rate.

The 2019-2020 proposed tax rate is one cent more than the effective rate of 69 cents, according to a previous report in the Register.

The effective rate is the tax rate needed to bring in the same tax revenue as the previous year.

The average taxable value of a resident’s primary home in Gainesville this year is $118,977, according to a city notice about the proposed tax increase.

If the city council adopts the effective tax rate of 69 cents per $100 of taxable value, the amount of taxes imposed on the average home would be $816.54. However, if they adopt the proposed tax rate of 70 cents per $100 valuation, the amount of taxes imposed on the average home would be $828.42, the notice says.

City Manager Barry Sullivan said the city is lowering the tax rate from last year’s approved rate of 72 cents.

“This is [a] 1.46% increase in revenues from last year’s budget,” Sullivan said.

The new budget will raise $110,394 more in property taxes compared to last year’s budget. The property tax revenue to be raised from new property added to the tax roll this year is $168,753.

Sullivan said property values increased for the most part. However, Schlumberger’s property value reduction of around $150 million had a major impact on the property values for the city.

Schlumberger Technology Corp., an oilfield services company, leases property from the Gainesville Economic Development Corp. on Airport Drive.

In 2012, the city council approved a tax abatement agreement with Schlumberger and its premises in Reinvestment Zone No. 17, located on two adjoining parcels at 2600 and 2601 Airport Drive, according to archived Register reports. At the time, Sullivan said the tax abatement allowed for a 50 percent exemption from taxation for the increase in value of the premises over the base year for a period of 10 years.

The abatement applies only to years in which Schlumberger has property at the site with a tax value of $100 million or more, according to archived reports.

Last year, Schlumberger property was evaluated at $194 million and was taxed on $97 million of that value, Cooke County Judge Jason Brinkley previously told the Register.

The proposed 2019-2020 budget for the city of Gainesville is $43.2 million, according to the city’s draft budget. The Register previously reported the revised budget for the current fiscal year is $43.6 million.

Sullivan said Thursday, Aug. 29, that there have been no material changes to the proposed budget since it was posted to the city’s website.

“There is around $12,000 worth of changes in the entire budget of which none [are] in the General Fund,” he said.

Members of the city council are expected to vote on adopting the proposed budget and tax rate at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17.

The city’s fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

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