IssuesLocal NewsTaxes & SpendingAmarillo City Council Approves Property Tax Hike and $20 Million Spending Increase

To pay off existing debt, the city approved a property tax rate increase and while authorizing a $20 million spending increase. The overall budget decreased two percent due to fewer capital improvement plans.
September 22, 2020
The Amarillo City Council unanimously approved an over four percent increase in its tax rate and a $14 million budgetary spending increase in its general fund. The overall budget was cut two percent due to fewer capital improvement projects planned for this year.

Total expenditures increased by $20 million.

This year’s rate will be $0.39681 per $100 of taxable property value and will raise over $3 million more in property tax revenues.

For a median homeowner in Amarillo, the property tax bill will increase about $24 from last year.

The city’s total taxable appraised property value increased 3.54 percent from 2019.

The Texan Tumbler

Mayor Ginger Nelson said back in August that the debt associated with past purchases such as two 2016 bond propositions and the Thompson Park Pool are the causal factors for this year’s property tax increase.

Amarillo’s City Manager, Jared Miller, estimated sales tax revenue has yielded two percent less than projections. State sales tax revenues have deteriorated significantly since its pre-coronavirus track due to the state and local governments issued shutdown orders.

There is a debate between state and local officials over whether the new property tax increase limit set by Senate Bill 2, 3.5 percent, no longer applies after Governor Abbott’s statewide disaster declaration due to a potential loophole within the 2019 legislation.

Some cities and counties, such as the City of Austin have chosen to operate from the loophole assumption, while others like the City of Dallas and Chambers County have decided against such a maneuver.

Local governments across Texas, in tandem with the state, have restricted business operations and general movements of citizens since the pandemic started. This has led to massive unemployment and stress on the state’s unemployment benefit rolls.

Amarillo’s August unemployment rate dropped below five percent for the first time since March but is still well above its August 2019 rate of 2.7 percent.

Governor Abbott announced he’d be using coronavirus’ percent of hospitalizations in an area to govern reopening limitations. As of last week, Amarillo was at 10.1 percent, below the 15 percent line Abbott drew for his loosened reopening limitations.

Amarillo’s COVID-19 state has improved significantly since spiking in May.


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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.