Starting this month, voters will consider whether to approve the first bond propositions in 27 years, including proposals that would fund $145 million in traffic and drainage projects. But in the days leading up to early voting, city officials are busy explaining the third proposition to potential voters.
“The language on the third proposition makes it sound like it will be a 1.25 percent increase,” said Sarah Greer Osborne, spokeswoman for League City. “But it’s a quarter-cent.”
Proposition C would allow city officials to increase League City’s sales tax rate by .25 percent, or a quarter-cent. The state sales and use tax rate is 6.25 percent, but local municipalities can charge up to an additional 2 percent tax, City Attorney Nghiem Doan has said.
League City currently charges 1.75 percent sales tax, so it could increase it by the quarter-cent.
But the bond proposition phrases it differently because of state requirements, Greer Osborne said.
“The adoption of a local sales and use tax in the city of League City at the rate of one and one-quarter percent (1.25 percent),” the ballot measure states.
Council members are pushing the sales tax measure as a way to pay for the debt that would be issued through the other propositions without increasing the property tax rate, Mayor Pat Hallisey said.
If Propositions A and B pass, but not the sales tax increase, property owners in League City could see their property tax rate increase by about 1.4 cents on $100 of taxable value, which would cost a homeowner with an assessed home value of $250,000 with a homestead exemption about $28 more each year in taxes, according to the city’s calculations.
While previous sales tax measures have failed in League City, all extra funding would go exclusively toward drainage and traffic improvements, which residents believe are important, Hallisey said.
“Every day we put this off, is going to cost more,” Hallisey said of the three propositions. “This is just a reminder of how devastating Harvey was to us. When we asked residents what they wanted, they pretty overwhelmingly said drainage and transportation improvements.”
The approved ballot items will include options for voters to approve or reject $73 million for drainage projects and $72 million for streets and traffic projects, officials said. Drainage improvement projects include detention ponds at several subdivisions and a diversion channel, among other items.
“We have come up with the best program we could, trying to find the most cost-effective way to do this,” Hallisey said. “Now, it’s in the voters’ hands. I like to think they realize what’s at stake here.”