As required by law the City of Pinehurst scheduled two public hearings in regard to the proposed tax rate for the year Oct. 1, 2011 to Sept. 30, 2012.

The first hearing was held Sept. 6 and the second Sept. 13.

The City of Pinehurst will be having the largest increase in property taxes in a comparison of tax rates in Orange County. There is only a slight increase in taxes for the City of West Orange. The cities of Orange, Bridge City and Vidor will have no increase in taxes, as well as Orange County carrying the current tax rate through the next tax year which begins Oct. 1.

The state tax code requires an entity to advertise a tax increase even if the tax rate does not change because if there is an increase in tax revenue due to the annual increase in property values; resulting in an increase in income to the taxing entity.

If the property has no increase in the value of his property, there will be no increase in the amount of taxes paid for the next year. Taxes are calculated using the tax rate multiplied by a number based on the appraised value.

Texas allows a homestead exemption of 20 percent, meaning a home owner will pay the tax rate based on 80 percent of the appraised value. The average taxable rate of a residence homestead in the City of Pinehurst this year is $72,630. The current tax rate for this year is $0.63143 per $100 of taxable value. The average amount of imposed taxes for this year would be $458.61 for the average home.

If the proposed tax rate is approved the tax rate would be $0.69904 per $100 of taxable value. The amount of tax paid would be $507.71 on the average home.

The proposed tax rate will increase income from tax revenues by 10.71 percent. At the meetings of the governing body of the City of Pinehurst the tax increase proposal was approved by the body voting, For: Bill Triggs, Bob Williams, T.W. Permenter, Dan Barclay, John Zerko. Against: None. Absent: Dan Mohon.

The first public meeting on the proposed tax rate was held Sept. 6. There were no members of the public in attendance and no comments.

The second required public meeting was held Tuesday, Sept. 13 at the Pinehurst City Hall. City Administrator Joe Parkhurst explained that the city’s income from sales taxes was not as high as the city had hoped it would be.

Councilman Dan Barclay explained the situation as being that the impact of sales tax on income as being that every penny in sales tax has an impact of $8,100 to the city.

“Spending is down and sales tax income is to unpredictable for us to try to use sales tax as a factor in our budget. [That] would be a ‘shot in the dark,’” Barclay said. “The focus in our budget was on spending and the new budget actually decreases spending, even after we give a cost of living raise. We have set the tax rate at a level that will give us income to operate the city and still allow us to give our citizens things such as twice a week garbage pickup when other cities have cut to once per week. We still have free pickup of limbs also.”

At this meeting there was also no citizens input or attendance. Mayor T.W. Permenter announced that the meeting to vote on the tax rate increase will be held on Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. at the Pinehurst City Hall.

In other business, Liz LeBlanc of T K Health Insurance announced that her group had conducted the bid process for the city’s insurance coverage and that after the bids were received the current carrier had the best rates and that there would be no change in either carrier or benefits.

The council voted to adopt a flexible benefits plan for the coming year. This would allow employee’s insurance premiums to be deducted from their paychecks on a pre-tax basis.

“This will allow our employees to take home just a little more money, as they will not be taxed on the amount deducted from their checks each payday,” said City Secretary Debbie Cormier.