Saltillo residents weigh-in on road improvement tax

By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal

SALTILLO – Nearly 50 residents gathered at City Hall on Tuesday to learn more about the Saltillo Transportation Enhancement Program.
The city’s residents will have the opportunity in three weeks to vote for or against an 8-mill tax increase in city taxes that will go toward three road enhancement projects over the next five years.
The meeting began with residents voicing concerns over increased taxes.
Shane Hooper, chair of the STEP advisory committee, did the math for a $139,000 home, and said it was a $111.14 increase in city taxes over one year.
Residents were given the opportunity to look up their current city taxes and figure an 8-mil tax increase.
“I had no idea what my tax increase would be and it came out to about $10-$12 each month,” said eight-year resident Jordan McCollum. “I hate paying more taxes but it’s a small price to pay for better roads and increased safety.”
Alderman Mitchell Brazeal said many residents realized they would pay a much smaller tax increase than they previously thought.
“One resident found out his taxes would only go up $36,” he said.
For most residents, the increase will be a little under 30 percent of their city taxes. The increase does not include school and county taxes.
“I have a family of six and we’re talking about one meal at Olive Garden per year for improvements to grow your hometown,” said Steve Belew, a six-year resident. “That is a small price to pay for the safety of our roads.”
Residents can vote between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Aug. 14 at the Saltillo Community Center.
In one project, Old Highway 45 would be expanded to five lanes from Highway 145 by McDonald’s. Randy Hathcock of Engineering Solutions Incorporated estimated the expansion to five lanes will cost $495,988.55.
In another project, a turning lane would be added to Mobile Street at the intersection of Cartwright Avenue. Hathcock estimates that will cost $142,391.
The third project would widen Highway 145 from Mobile Street to Pannel Drive.jb.clark@journalinc.com