Saltillo to vote on tax hike for road fixes

SALTILLO – Saltillo residents will have the opportunity to vote Aug. 14 for or against a tax increase to fund road improvements.
The vote was originally scheduled for June but the United States Department of Justice must pre-approve the election.
Saltillo City Attorney Jason Herring said the Department of Justice should offer its clearance within 60 days of receiving a request.
If the Aug. 14 referendum happens as planned and passes, Herring said the tax should be in effect for the Fiscal Year 2012-2013 budget.
The referendum will decide whether an additional 8-mill tax on residents will bring in about $1 million over five years for road improvements.
Slated for the improvements are the Mobile Street and Cartwright Avenue intersection, Old Highway 45 next to McDonald’s and Highway 145 from Mobile Street to Pannel Drive.
Property tax in Saltillo is currently set at 27 mils. The increase will affect everyone differently according to exemptions and assessed values, but someone who pays $300 in city taxes can expect to pay about $89 more each year.
The tax is set to expire after five years and must go through the same referendum process to be collected for five more years.
In one project, Old Highway 45 will 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 will be added to Mobile Street at the intersection of Cartwright Avenue. Hathcock estimates that will cost $142,391.
The board voted to concentrate on the Highway 145 expansion last so MDOT can first complete a traffic study. Hathcock said the project will come in at just under $2 million.
Residents can vote at the Saltillo Community Center from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 14.
jb.clark@journalinc.com