Two questions—tax revenue and police and fire personnel—are on the mind of residents in the City of Sulphur Springs as the city council meets Friday at noon in Council Chambers, 201 North Davis Street. First the tax rate and then personnel are addressed below.
Although the tax rate for the City of Sulphur Springs will remain at 44-cents per 100-dollars total tax revenues will increase thanks to a 2.5% increase in property values for 2017 over the previous year. County property values increased 2.6%. City and county as well as school boards across the county and the hospital district will see tax revenues increase thanks to the increased value of property. Each entity will be conducting public hearings that are styles “tax rate increase” due to dictates of state law. The City of Sulphur Springs and Sulphur springs School District will address the numbers Friday in special sessions. The County will hold public hearings beginning next week.
According to Cathy Singleton, Chief Appraisal Officer for the Hopkins County District, properties in the city and county are selling at a higher value and property improvements have been made that affect the appraised value. She also noted that appraisals made by the district must be made a market value. Failing to do so would negatively affect local school funding.
For the City of Sulphur Springs the total market value is $1,152,212,307. Exempt property totals $148,524,481 and value lost to agricultural usage is $19,934,180. Disabled veterans exemptions total $852,370 and exemption for over 65 is $12,824,320. Lost to tax abatement is $48,368,177. Other losses and exemptions leave a net taxable value for 2017 of $915,445,602 compared to a net of $892,859,072 for 2016. New construction in the city of Sulphur Springs during 2017 valued at $3,581,200 is included in the net taxable value.
With few exceptions, tax values in all tax districts in Hopkins County have increase each year since 2013. See chart below (Winnsboro and Yantis ISD figures only reflect the portion of their district in Hopkins County).
In an earlier interview with KSST News reported August 17, 2017, Peter Karsten said city police and fire departments will remain separate although both departments will have available additional assets by efficient use of available manpower and equipment when needed with changes that are being made. Other than the elimination of the position of Fire Chief, all other personnel in the fire department will remain. One of the key objectives of the move is to increase the ability of all public safety elements to work together and not duplicate services. The budget calls for a reorganization of only the management structure of the police and fire departments. The current proposal calls for a single manager but does not call for a public safety division which would mean additional management personnel. Each department will be led in the field by their own qualified, experienced management.