Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Celina Mayor Proposes Ending Property Tax In New Budget

Celina Mayor Luke Collins suggested discontinuing the city’s property tax as part of the budget for the 2024-2025 fiscal year.

Collins told the Board of Aldermen Tuesday night the city’s property tax brings in some $200,000 annually. He said the current property tax is set at 87 cents. With a fund balance of $1.3 million, Collins said the city is in a strong enough financial position to depend solely on sales tax.

“This is the money of the people and I really think it would send a good message to give the people some of their money back,” Collins said. “And because we have made some good management decisions that have saved a lot of money.”

Celina Aldermen passed its budget on the first reading without a property tax reduction included. The proposed budget does include pay increases for city employees. Collins said the expects the increases to remain in the budget and pass in June, and go into effect July 1.

“That non-restricted fund balance, that’s the key to it,” Collins said. “We owe that healthy fund balance to having good employees who do a good job, make good recommendations, do good things that save money, and good management on the part of the Aldermen.”

The board has the next month to adjust the budget and make changes including the elimination of the property tax, which Collins said would be a nice “thank you” to Celina residents.

Collins said sales tax has spiked since COVID with people more willing to spend their money on things like dining out.

“We’ve got two Builder Supply’s here in town and several grocery stores here in town, and they all bring in sales tax,” Collins said. “Every business is important. You know, our garage got a vehicle worked on today and they paid him for it, paid him the sales tax, and part of that goes to the city. Every little bit helps.”

Collins said his top priorities in this year’s budget are employee raises, road paving, and completing the city’s veteran’s monument.

In other business, the board voted to appoint Lee Boles to the Celina Industrial Board. Collins said Boles will replace a recently resigned board member. Collins said he believes Bowles is excited to begin and will do a fantastic job.

“He’ll do an outstanding job,” Collins said. “I know the change in the scheduling may be a little bit difficult for him at times, but anyway, he’ll do a great job. He does a great job at everything he does.”

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