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FROM THE WEST U COUNCIL TABLE • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • TGetting down to the basics ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ harm. Let’s face it, West University Place is a residential dreamland, and we are all lucky to live here. Our little town is about two square miles and has a Harris County Appraisal District value of nearly $6.2 billion — or almost $4.8 million per acre. Easiest to comprehend is the value of a square foot of your backyard = $111. Think about that. It has been reported that West U has the highest average square foot value of any municipality in Texas. The West University City Council has two, and only two, things they must do every year — adopt a budget and set a tax rate. They will do that in October. The current budget approves spending $43,307,947 for 2017. We fund it with a tax rate of 31.68 cents per $100 assessed value. The most current average residential homestead taxable value is $1,083,056. Most of us look at the tax bill we receive each year as one, rath- �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� And the West U portion is only about 14 percent of our total property tax bill. While there may be a clamoring to reduce property taxes in general, there has never be a meaningful outcry for a reduction in the level of West University Place taxes. About 70 percent of the non-bond payment part of our budget goes to salaries and ������������������������������������������������������������������������ It is easy to cut taxes — the hard part is cutting spending. But in West U, we have a balanced budget. So in order to cut taxes, we must cut spending — which means cutting salaries, personnel ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ raised to do that? I haven’t heard it. Mayor Susan Sample and the new City Council have a few meetings under their belts. They will soon set council goals. The No. 1 issue facing the new council: A perception that crime in West U is getting worse — especially so-called petty crimes such as package thefts and car break-ins. Actually crime is �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� everything that happens in our midst, and of course no crime is petty if you’re the victim. The last City Council approved funding for two more police ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� two intersection surveillance camera systems on a trial basis. What else should be done to improve public safety? What are your priorities for West U government? Email Mayor Sample and all the councilmembers through the city website at www.westutx.gov. — George Boehme


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