Comments

  • Dale,
    Not sure if I understand your homestead comment? Regarding the Trans Texas Corridor affecting the value of your property, I think its unlikely the TTC was a factor in anyone’s valuation, I could be wrong. You might just want to contact the appraisal district and ask them if that was or has been a factor in anyone’s appraisal. I will ask the next time am there.

    Yes I do understand where the money comes from for each of the enterprise funds. With respect to the Water/Waste Water (W/WSW) fund it comes from the utility bills citizens pay. For the 11-12 budget total revenues of 23,537,500 and expense of 24,611,948 were set. These numbers came off the Pro Forma schedule of working capital position on page 189 of the water wastewater budget which can be found at the link below. We are budgeting to collect slightly less than the cost of operations this year.

    http://www.ittybittyurl.com/dks

    Transfers from the W/WSW fund to the general fund for 11-12 amount to 2,353,750, which can be found on page 215 of the W/WSW budget at the link above. The logic behind the transfer is the W/WSW department uses city right of way, city roads, the legal department and other city services, the transfer is their share of those cost. There are probably more cost than I mentioned but I think those are the largest. Thanks for your kind words regarding my campaign.

    Thanks,
    Paul Polasek

    May 15, 2012 at 1:39 p.m.
  • Paul, why would I talk about a homestead, when I have been addressing city spending? It is amazing what the threat of a Trans Texas Corridor down the middle of your property can do to property values. (The possibility of being in the median devalued the property. Sure glad that improvement went away.)

    You know exactly where the extra money comes from regarding the enterprise fund. But since we are addressing Enterprise Fund transfers, can you tell us how much more the Water/Waste Water fund has collected over and above the costs of operations? (I am not referring to pre-collections for a plant which is kinda questionable right now.) Specifically, transfers to the general fund. Just curious. Thanks Paul, and I have really appreciated your insight of late. Finally, you ran a model campaign. Clean. Informative. Classy.

    May 15, 2012 at 11:11 a.m.
  • Paul,

    Thank you for taking the time to address the tax rate issue and for being humble enough to accept a criticism as valid. I hope you'll give even more thought to how the public perceives changes in the tax rate versus what they expect to see on their tax bills. Otherwise, it comes across as a shell game where the citizens are made to divert their focus onto the tax rate while the budget avoids its due public scrutiny. Instead of chipping away at the tax rate in tenth-cent increments as if that's what should dictate the budget, you should prove to the public that the budget has been through the wringer and justify every increase in detail. Prove to us that attempts are made to improve efficiency to counter inflationary effects. Only then should a tax rate be calculated. Sure, it would be a painful process and might create more public perception problems than it eliminates, but at least you're bringing the wage-earning public along for the ride, for better or worse. The tax spenders should lay themselves bare to the tax earners.

    Thanks again for your time and consideration.

    May 15, 2012 at 10:56 a.m.
  • BSspotter,

    I do not believe I was trying to debunk it, I stated I disagreed with it.

    “The tax rate should be a result of the tax revenues needed for the budget, not a factor in its derivation” In my opinion it is not.

    I do agree with your statement about streamlining the budget department by department. In my experience it has not always been practical (for me anyways) to ask everything during the council meetings. I do a lot of review of the city budget on my own time, I ask questions of staff about items often. For example I will think of something I want clarification on during the day I will send an email to the city manager. Perhaps I will try and do a better job or communicating about budget items I have reviewed if that would be helpful.

    You are correct about my comments. No it does not mean I am attributing tax increases to property assessment increases. No, I do not for one minute think the CAD drives tax collections. If I have not been clear regarding that let me be so now.

    The Victoria CAD is an independent entity responsible for appraising properties as outlined by state law. The city council must make its own decision on what tax rate to set to raise enough revenue to provide for city services. I hope that is clear enough. :^)

    Thanks,
    Paul Polasek

    May 14, 2012 at 10:38 a.m.
  • Mr. Polasek,

    Respectfully, speaking in terms of the tax rates that muddy the waters for the taxpayers doesn't help debunk my "generalization". The tax rate should be a result of the tax revenues needed for the budget, not a factor in its derivation. (I'll admit that the city budgeting discussions put more emphasis on the total budget than the county, for instance, who had chosen to ride the wave of huge property value increases while pretending their flat tax rate is doing us a favor, which helped increase their budget by roughly 45% over 8 years.) I think the primary discussion should be strictly focused on streamlining the total budget—dept by dept—THEN the tax rate will fall where it may. Lauding a reduced tax rate that will actually increase taxes is disingenuous at best.

    On August 30, 2011, you were reported (http://bit.ly/JdXw9X) as saying, "There's been significant tax increases year after year due to the (property) evaluation side getting corrected as they should be."

    Doesn't that explicitly attribute tax increases to property assessment increases? Do you really think the CAD drives increases in tax collections? Doesn't the City have complete control over its tax collections in its ability to lower the tax rate inversely proportionate to the value increase?

    May 14, 2012 at 10:12 a.m.
  • Hi Dale,
    Regarding your comment about the 5%, you were speaking only about your first couple of notifications in the mail then, thanks for the clarification. I assume you are speaking about your home as being one of them? Specifically property ID 20316220, located in Inez? I believe this is the residence you mention when you visit us at our city council meetings. I noticed after looking on the CAD website this particular property has dropped in appraised value in recent years.

    2007 $225,630
    2008 $212,540 -5.80%
    2009 $203,020 -4.48%
    2010 $205,840 1.39%
    2011 $201,810 -1.96%

    If you are dissatisfied with the 2012 appraisal make sure you avail yourself of the review process. I am sure the ARB board will be happy to visit with you about it.

    Regarding the tax rate I suppose I have gotten a bit predictable. I have mentioned here and in other venues I would like to take a slower, incremental approach to lowering the property tax rate. Regarding spending it depends on what you are referring to, if memory serve me correctly the 11-12 budget is actually about 6% smaller than the 10-11 budget. This is due to a decrease in capital expenditures. But I don’t feel it’s a good measure of decreased spending, for that we need to address ongoing M&O expenditures. Which enterprise fund are you referring to? And what special project are you referring to? We have several enterprise funds including the following…

    Water/Wastewater Fund
    700 Main Center Fund
    Community Center Fund
    Environmental Services Fund
    Softball Complex Fund

    Thanks
    Paul Polasek

    May 14, 2012 at 9:40 a.m.
  • Hello Paul.

    Received the first couple CAD appraisal notifications. Both were up 5 percent. Of course,you being a fiscal conservative our tax rate will be sure to drop that 1/2 cent. I just always wonder how that 1/2 cent goes down when city spending is up 4-7 percent? Perhaps someone on council can help us to understand how you reduce taxes (hahahaha) and increase spending?Maybe I can also suggest someone can explain how that trusty old enterprise fund is used to fund your special projects?

    We now have five fiscal conservatives on Council. Will you join up with David Hagan rein in city spending?

    May 14, 2012 at 8:39 a.m.
  • Riverboat-
    According to the unofficial results, the only thing Polasek won was early voting. On election day, each precinct in District 3 went to Hyak.

    Your other comment about "mean spirited"? Not at all. Mrs. Soliz has entered into the public forum now and she's fair game of any criticism.

    I'm surprised you didn't think the Joe Truman comment about loving the city health insurance plan was mean spirited. Think about it. It's Truman's sole inspiration to stay on the council. Tax payer supported health insurance for his family.

    Last. I need to "shut up"? I probably will when you will.

    May 14, 2012 at 6:59 a.m.
  • The city election is over. Finally. And now some parting comments for those involved:

    Emett: Congratulations. Persistence pays off after 3+ political failures. Word of advice, when you get on council, “shut up.” Listen before you speak and know that you represent all of District 1. Oh yeah, check out the health insurance the city will provide you by being elected. Joe Truman loves it.

    Denise: You didn’t really think you could pull this off did you? You occupied most of your time pandering to the arts groups and special interests. Your council votes came back to roost. Next time you use Emett to get you elected, just know he will stab you in the back when the time comes.

    Josephine: Good luck. You’ll have plenty of wiggle room in the special chair the city bought for Gabriel. Speaking of wiggle room, be yourself, not your son. He’s facing his own problems in the primary and being a notary public is probably not enough to sustain him in tough times ahead.

    Gene: 23 vote margin. Tough race for an Anglo in your district, but Josephine did not get a mandate. Don’t give up, but in the future, push back, it won’t hurt.

    Paul: 90 vote spread and you lost every precinct in your district. Wipe that smug look off your face and put your mayoral aspirations on the shelf. It will never happen.

    John: Your entry in the race proved that 673 people are tired of Paul’s arrogance. Well done, sir. Well done.

    David: Thank you for a clean race. Much better than the name calling and mudslinging you did 3 years ago against James Martinez. This is your third term. Make it count. Vote smart and don’t be just a Ron Paul. Think it out.

    Lewis: What were you thinking?

    May 13, 2012 at 9:43 p.m.
  • I would like to express my gratitude to all the Candidates that ran for City Council. Congratulations to all the winners and I look forward to meeting with you all.

    Next week is Police Week and it's an important opportunity to honor the men and women who dedicate their lives to the safety of our families and our community.

    Keep us in your prayers.

    Joseph E Felan
    President
    Victoria Police Officers Association

    May 13, 2012 at 8:50 p.m.
  • thepatriot,
    Sorry to hear you were inconvenienced in such a way. Very happy to hear the system worked and you were able to get it corrected. The appraisal review board is a good group of citizens who have the best of intentions in my opinion, I am glad they were able to help you. I have heard of occasional errors the CAD makes, considering they have many thousands of parcels they are required to appraise I would expect some problems. However I would not consider your one example as proof the staff at the CAD treat every appraisal that poorly. Guess I can’t really speak to your comment on the prior owner, at least I know we all have the luxury of reviewing everyones appraisal on line, no matter who you are, which is an excellent example of transparency. The important thing is the CAD try and stay as fair as possible for everyone. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Paul Polasek

    Point of information that might be helpful…

    - The CAD has a Board which oversees the budget and other administrative functions of the CAD. The CAD board is not allowed by law to exercise any influence over individual appraisals.

    - Appraisal Review Board (ARB) is the judicial part of the property tax system which is a separate body from the appraisal district office and serves a different function. It constitutes of an independent group of citizens authorized to hear and resolve disputes over appraisal matters.

    May 13, 2012 at 8:27 p.m.
  • the patriot, your story rings true on so many levels. The former city manager for years had a valuation of his land far lower than many in less wealthy districts.

    May 13, 2012 at 8:24 p.m.
  • Brady is absolutely correct. "Arbitrary" is the key word. I'm sorry Mr. Polasek but I will have to vehemently disagree with you. In '07 I purchased my home, and depended on the information the CAD provided us as accurate. Obviously we considered the previous year taxes before our purchase. In '08 the CAD assessed the value 59K more than the previous year. Believe me, we disputed the increase in front of the CAD Board. As the CAD Board sat in front of my wife and I, looking completely dumb founded, they turned their attention to the CAD rep. sitting in the hearing and began a series of questions. Her response was as follows: "I will have to look into this". "I have no idea?" "I really have no explanation at this time". It was down right comical and quite sad.

    Obviously the CAD Board in all their dismay agreed to a $16K increase and scolded the CAD for their lack of attention to fair market values in our particular neighborhood. In addition, they apologized for placing the burden of such an increase on the tax payer, and struggled to come up with a reasonable answer as to why there had been no serious assessment in the last 15 years. Later we learned that the owner of our home previous to our purchase was a man of influence in this community and his property had been "over looked" still with no explanation. Unfortunately several of my friends who have recently moved into the community share very similar stories. It's just "the way it's always been". (tired of hearing that btw)

    May 13, 2012 at 7:52 p.m.
  • BSspotter,
    I disagree with your generalization. The last six years I have been fully aware of the increase in tax collections by the city. The discussion has become very complex in recent years as the legislature continuously modifies the property tax code. For example, in the 10-11 budget the effective tax rate presented to council was .6521 cents. The effective tax rate is the rate that will raise the same revenue on the same properties as the prior year’s tax rate. Council agreed that year to set the rate at .6500 cents, LOWER than the effective rate. Of course this was lost in the discussion because the prior year’s actual rate was .6450, it appeared we were raising the tax rate which was not true, and some on council didn’t seem to grasp this. Also it is not practical to think we could keep it flat every year, Inflation impacts the City, just as it impacts your household.

    Last year I spent a lot of time with the city finance director trying to gain a better understanding of the effective tax rate calculation. I hoping over the coming years we can incrementally lower the property tax rate, I do not feel we can accomplish it all at once, that’s a pretty tough goal to get all 7 members of council to agree on. I think it’s more effective for me to work on persuading some of my fellow council members to lower the rate a little each year, and I will continue to try and do so. I do enjoy the good discussion, I will try and provide a guest column concerning this in the future if the Advocate will allow me. For now you can read more specifically my idea in my column from May 10th.

    Thanks,
    Paul Polasek

    May 13, 2012 at 6:44 p.m.
  • The balance of voting power... Depending on the outcome of the District 1 recount, that just might restore the true definition of the duties of the Mayor in a Council-Manager system of municipal government.

    "The legislative body, which is voted into office by public elections, appoints a professional manager to oversee the administrative operations, implement its policies, and advise it. The position of "mayor" present in this type of legislative body is a largely ceremonial title, and may be selected by the council from among its members or elected as an at-large council member with no executive functions.

    The city manager position in this form of municipal government is similar to that of corporate chief executive officer (CEO), providing professional management to the board of directors. Council–manager government is much like a publicly-traded corporation."

    The above definition, sadly, has not been followed in the City of Victoria.

    May 13, 2012 at 4:12 p.m.
  • Wow. I'm hearing a lot of anger, and I think that many (not all) of the decisions at the polls are reflecting that. And, yeah, Sgt. Jiggler, for all the "fire" and "anger" I'm sensing, there certainly was a dismal turnout. Was it just a small part of the populace that was determined to see change, so took the liberty of voting, or are there others out there who sit at home and miss and poan but then just don't bother to make a 10-minute excursion to go vote? Sadly, I suspect the latter.

    May 13, 2012 at 4:10 p.m.
  • Brady said: "We (the tax payers in this fair city) can't afford any more increases in property values."

    Contrary to what our elected officials tell us, changes in overall property values have no bearing on overall tax collections. They pretend budget increases are out of their hands while they actually have TOTAL control over budgeting AND the resulting tax collections. Sure, if your property value increases at a higher rate than your neighbor, you'll have a greater tax increase, but the taxing entities have the ability to lower their tax rates to keep total tax collections flat. Our misdirected blaming of the CAD for your tax increases probably explains the low voter turnout.

    May 13, 2012 at 4:07 p.m.
  • Other points to consider regarding the appraisals... If you look at home sale information for Victoria, you will see that home prices have actually risen over the last few years which would, since appraisal prices are set on fair market value, account for the increase. Additionally, I live in Castle Hills and my appraisal actually went down a little over last year.

    May 13, 2012 at 1:43 p.m.
  • Brady,
    I would have to disagree that the appraisal districts increases are “arbitrary”. The appraisal district must follow state law when appraising property, the appraisal district is subject to strict audit by the state comptroller. Additionally the individual property owner has the right to protest their valuation to an appraisal review board if they feel the appraisal is incorrect.

    Remember, the appraisal should be as close to fair market value as possible, in other words what would you sell your home for? My appraisal on my home has increased dramatically since I originally purchased it 11 years ago. I think my home appraisal is pretty accurate, it’s about what I would put it on the market for if I was to sell it.

    Take a look for yourself, my property ID is 45811
    http://www.victoriacad.org/

    Paul Polasek

    May 13, 2012 at 1:12 p.m.
  • We (the tax payers in this fair city) can't afford any more increases in property values. 5% Hahahaha, that's funny. That's an absolute understatement, getting off cheap. The appraisal district increases are abitrary year to year in all instances in this city. 33% (ours), then 17% the following year. Mr. Zuck you are absolutely wrong, 5% is incorrect it's much more than that. FACT (The source: My appraisals)

    May 13, 2012 at 12:41 p.m.
  • Hi Dale,

    You stated - "With a 5 percent Appraisal District increase"

    What is the source for your statement?

    Sounds as if you are saying all property values in Victoria County are being increased 5% ? Is that what you are saying?

    Thanks,
    Paul Polasek

    May 13, 2012 at 11:42 a.m.
  • saddened at the turnout. not happy with final results in the council race for district 3. Was hoping for a different result.

    Not sure how you get people in this country to vote anymore?

    May 13, 2012 at 7:45 a.m.
  • Forgot something...Now 90% of the registered voters can officially keep thier collective mouths SHUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Patrick Barnes

    May 13, 2012 at 7:36 a.m.
  • Wonder how many of the 40 overseas ballots will be from District 1? The issue is still in doubt.
    Patrick Barnes

    May 13, 2012 at 7:33 a.m.
  • i agree with dale, all the candidates ran great campaigns. the focus was on the issues, not on mud slinging

    May 12, 2012 at 11:02 p.m.
  • With a 5 percent Appraisal District increase, we are going to need all the fiscal conservatives we can muster. Way to go Good Guys of Place 4, 1, and 2. And thanks for the run Mr Hyak.

    Finally, to all the candidates. Thank you for keeping this an election about ideas and not mud slinging.

    May 12, 2012 at 10:36 p.m.
  • the will armstong voting block had to be broken up. hopefully the district 1 results hold up

    May 12, 2012 at 10:29 p.m.