Business owner disputes proposed Nacogdoches tax hike

BEAUMONT, TX (News Release) - By Donna McCollum - email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Business owner Pam Fitch knows her customers, just like herself, are looking for ways to save money during a recovering economy. Higher taxes aren't in the equation.

"There are a lot of small businesses that are really struggling right now, so we do not need to increase the tax bill on those small businesses," Fitch said.

When Fitch heard of the two-cent tax hike proposal she began researching other cities.

"We did look at Huntsville because that's a natural because it's a college town," Fitch said.

What she found fueled her argument against higher taxes.

"Of the cities I looked at no one was considering tax increase on their property tax," Fitch said.

City management is all for comparing Nacogdoches with other cities. They do it frequently. They call it a great benchmark, but it's also sometimes like comparing apples with oranges.

According to the city manager, the average homeowner would pay about $20 more a year in city taxes. Revenue Jim Jeffers says is long overdue.

"The city has been in cutback mode for over three years now," Jeffers said. "We're deferring street maintenance. We're deferring purchasing emergency vehicles and the deferred is a significant list and we've reduced staff."

As a member of Nacogdoches Planning and Zoning, Fitch contends there are still more ways for the city to cut spending without sacrificing service.

"Now is not the time to raise my tax bill," Fitch said.

Fitch was the lone speaker at a public hearing on the issue.

She's hoping other property owners will voice their concern at the next city council meeting.

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