Homestead exemption cuts revenue in Cove

May 26, 2012 Full story: Killeen Daily Herald 30

By Mason W. Canales Killeen Daily Herald COPPERAS COVE - A complete homestead tax exemption for 100 percent disabled veterans has city officials searching for ways to recoup the budget losses.

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wernotwanted

Stephenville, TX

#1 May 27, 2012
the city would like all disable vets to leave so said by the city manager and city council
Concered

Copperas Cove, TX

#2 May 27, 2012
That is not was the article said.
I understand this exemption for property taxes of 100% disabled vets has cost the city revenue. According to the KDH, the percentage of revenue is highest in Cove. Killeen, of course, has more residents fall in this category but they have many more residents.
Just hope the city doesn't decide to increase by adding another "drainage fee" which was supposed to go away after, I believe, 6 years. That was 15 years ago. They could increase water rates, but that wouldn't bring in all that much.
If they raise the tax rate there will be a revolt. This city already has one of the highest tax rates in the state.
I'm sure they'll find ways to bring in more money.
Add a dollar here or there for CP&R activities, increase fines on traffic tickets, etc.
PATRIOT

San Antonio, TX

#3 May 28, 2012
Concered wrote:
That is not was the article said.
I understand this exemption for property taxes of 100% disabled vets has cost the city revenue. According to the KDH, the percentage of revenue is highest in Cove. Killeen, of course, has more residents fall in this category but they have many more residents.
Just hope the city doesn't decide to increase by adding another "drainage fee" which was supposed to go away after, I believe, 6 years. That was 15 years ago. They could increase water rates, but that wouldn't bring in all that much.
If they raise the tax rate there will be a revolt. This city already has one of the highest tax rates in the state.
I'm sure they'll find ways to bring in more money.
Add a dollar here or there for CP&R activities, increase fines on traffic tickets, etc.
I see 'increasing' drainage fees,'increasing' water rates,'raise' taxes,'add' a dollar here, or there,'increase' fines-all raising or increasing TAXES, FEES, or FINES.

What about cutting cost of government-you know, like reducing spending?
jaas

Copperas Cove, TX

#4 May 28, 2012
PATRIOT wrote:
<quoted text>
I see 'increasing' drainage fees,'increasing' water rates,'raise' taxes,'add' a dollar here, or there,'increase' fines-all raising or increasing TAXES, FEES, or FINES.
What about cutting cost of government-you know, like reducing spending?
The article is about reduced revenues which means they have already had to cut spending to compensate. Should they cut more? What services would you and your family choose to no longer receive, trash pick up, water, no more street improvements or repairs, parks and recreation, public safety. I'm sure if you have plan that would cut spending and still allow ALL citizens to receive the same level of service that the city provides the council would love to hear it.
PATRIOT

San Antonio, TX

#5 May 28, 2012
jaas wrote:
<quoted text>
The article is about reduced revenues which means they have to think about cutting back spending to compensate. Should they cut more? What services would you and your family choose to no longer receive, trash pick up, water, no more street improvements or repairs, parks and recreation, public safety. I'm sure if you have plan that would cut spending and still allow ALL citizens to receive the same level of service that the city provides the council would love to hear it.
Reduced revevues apparently mean that property tax income will be reduced due to property tax exemptions. At least that what I thought was the topic of discussion.

Now last year, every school district in the state had to re-adjust to the loss of almost $4 billion in state aid, and many also had to deal with additional hundreds of millions in lost Federal Entitlement funds. They closed buildings, terminated teacher contracts, reduced services like transportation, pre-kindergarten, tutoring, sports events, adult education, school provided day care and extra meals, stipends, and dual certified teachers who taught college/high school level courses. And more.

I can assure you, there is fat in any city budget, or on it's list of expendatures. Like retreats for council members to big cities like Dallas, San Antonio, and Las Vegas, that could just as easily be accomplished right at home. Sometimes it's little nit picking things like paying $15.00 for a $3.00 hammer, or paying police overtime where officers are working for private events. Leaving the lights on all day and night at city hall-even during Christmas.

I could go on about this, but the fact is, I doubt very seriously there has ever been a 'down deep and dirty' audit of the cities financial expenditures. Finding little things like re-imbursement vouchers exceeding mileage limits, or not even having a trip sheet to fill out to justify the mileage. Or meal reimbursements where they city pays sales tax to the employee, who paid sales tax, and the city is exempt. Not collecting all the income that is due the city. Paying too much for items the city purchases because there is no one person who cares to check for better prices. Duplication of services being done, or should be done by the county. Not having a preventative maintenance policy for city equipment and vechicles. Finding cheaper fuel

If I haven't made a point yet, I never will. But there is always fat on the government bone.

Your alternative will be to raise taxes before you look for those cuts that can be made. My advice is to use common sense, look for cuts, trim the fat, then make the harder decisions if necessary. Getting hysterical now will only be devisive for Cove.
PATRIOT

San Antonio, TX

#6 May 29, 2012
jaas wrote:
<quoted text>
The article is about reduced revenues which means they have already had to cut spending to compensate. Should they cut more? What services would you and your family choose to no longer receive, trash pick up, water, no more street improvements or repairs, parks and recreation, public safety. I'm sure if you have plan that would cut spending and still allow ALL citizens to receive the same level of service that the city provides the council would love to hear it.
Gee, no takers from City Hall? Now why doesn't that surprize me?
SYJIMO

Copperas Cove, TX

#7 May 29, 2012
the operative word in the last thread is manage or manager.it is too easy to seek the least form of resistance taxes.
PATRIOT

San Antonio, TX

#8 May 29, 2012
SYJIMO wrote:
the operative word in the last thread is manage or manager.it is too easy to seek the least form of resistance taxes.
You're as right as you can be. Any old excuse to raise the burden rather than lessen it with good management and a common sense approach to affordable government.
Foo Man Chew

Copperas Cove, TX

#9 Jun 2, 2012
Sell that damn golf course to a company willing to operate it and make it work.
not the answer

Copperas Cove, TX

#10 Jun 2, 2012
Foo Man Chew wrote:
Sell that damn golf course to a company willing to operate it and make it work.
The golf course, just like city park & pools is NOT intended to be a $$ maker. They are services & quality of living enhancements provided for the community without the expectation to "profit". The truth is, if you take these out of our community we certainly would make ourselves even less desirable to those searching for their next home & community in which to live. Besides what fool would be willing to purchase a municipal golf course that hasn't ever made a profit (at least not in many, many years) in a community in which there are exemplary courses within 1 hour and in much nicer areas.
absolutely untrue

Euless, TX

#11 Jun 2, 2012
wernotwanted wrote:
the city would like all disable vets to leave so said by the city manager and city council
This city, officials & citizens embrace & are very proud to have veterans choosing this as their home.
It's similar to the "Robin Hood" issue with school districts years back.
All communities near to VA hospitals & military installations will have a much higher ratio of veterans living in those communities resulting in a greater impact on the tax revenues exempted.
Areas that don't have any VA hospital or military installation within 100 miles of them will not be impacted hardly at all.
The point is it would be nice if the $$ exempted were spread out in a more "fair" way. It's not about not wanting these upstanding & honorable vets as citizens, in fact they are highly desirable citizens.
PATRIOT

San Antonio, TX

#12 Jun 3, 2012
Foo Man Chew wrote:
Sell that damn golf course to a company willing to operate it and make it work.
There's a good start. Privatize rather than control.
PATRIOT

San Antonio, TX

#13 Jun 3, 2012
not the answer wrote:
<quoted text>
The golf course, just like city park & pools is NOT intended to be a $$ maker. They are services & quality of living enhancements provided for the community without the expectation to "profit". The truth is, if you take these out of our community we certainly would make ourselves even less desirable to those searching for their next home & community in which to live. Besides what fool would be willing to purchase a municipal golf course that hasn't ever made a profit (at least not in many, many years) in a community in which there are exemplary courses within 1 hour and in much nicer areas.
A fool won't buy it because it hasn't made a profit-you yourself stated that the golf course, parks, and pools were "NOT' intended to make money or be profitable, so the city manages them that way. And you the taxpayer subsidizes that form of management, or 'not for profit' operation. If the city gets out of it, it will be an expenditure burden lifted of the taxpayer and a 'new taxable property' on the tax roll generating tax revenue for other city necessities.

Even a lease agreement on the golf course would be more preferred, it just wouldn't bring in property tax revenue.

Still no takers from city hall?
Kenn Smith

Waco, TX

#14 Jun 4, 2012
PATRIOT wrote:
<quoted text>
Reduced revevues apparently mean that property tax income will be reduced due to property tax exemptions. At least that what I thought was the topic of discussion.
Now last year, every school district in the state had to re-adjust to the loss of almost $4 billion in state aid, and many also had to deal with additional hundreds of millions in lost Federal Entitlement funds. They closed buildings, terminated teacher contracts, reduced services like transportation, pre-kindergarten, tutoring, sports events, adult education, school provided day care and extra meals, stipends, and dual certified teachers who taught college/high school level courses. And more.
I can assure you, there is fat in any city budget, or on it's list of expendatures. Like retreats for council members to big cities like Dallas, San Antonio, and Las Vegas, that could just as easily be accomplished right at home. Sometimes it's little nit picking things like paying $15.00 for a $3.00 hammer, or paying police overtime where officers are working for private events. Leaving the lights on all day and night at city hall-even during Christmas.
I could go on about this, but the fact is, I doubt very seriously there has ever been a 'down deep and dirty' audit of the cities financial expenditures. Finding little things like re-imbursement vouchers exceeding mileage limits, or not even having a trip sheet to fill out to justify the mileage. Or meal reimbursements where they city pays sales tax to the employee, who paid sales tax, and the city is exempt. Not collecting all the income that is due the city. Paying too much for items the city purchases because there is no one person who cares to check for better prices. Duplication of services being done, or should be done by the county. Not having a preventative maintenance policy for city equipment and vechicles. Finding cheaper fuel
If I haven't made a point yet, I never will. But there is always fat on the government bone.
Your alternative will be to raise taxes before you look for those cuts that can be made. My advice is to use common sense, look for cuts, trim the fat, then make the harder decisions if necessary. Getting hysterical now will only be devisive for Cove.
I quit reading this forum when it got so ugly during the civil service election but someone called me about this particular post. I probably should have long since learned that dealing with facts doesn't make a lot of difference to some posters but I'll attempt to refute some of Patriots allegations.

Retreat trips to large cities? Doesn't happen. When we have a council retreat it is always in either the Police Department training room or chambers in city hall. The council even reduced its training and travel budget this year to save money.$1,500 per council member isn't going to go very far towards a Las Vegas retreat.$15 for a $3 hammer? I've looked in Ace Hardware and Wal-Mart and there aren't any decent $3 hammers and our city purchasing agent does her best to get the best price on everything the city buys. To the best of my knowledge police officers working private events are paid by the event organizers and do not receive overtime pay. What specific services, within the city limits, should be done by the county rather than the city?

Patriot, the entire city budget is available to you on line for review, line by line. I welcome you to review it and find the fat you post about - understanding that your "fat" might be another resident's "necessary". I'm in the phone book and when you can find a lot of fat in the budget I would welcome your call to discuss alternatives.
PATRIOT

San Antonio, TX

#15 Jun 4, 2012
Kenn Smith wrote:
<quoted text>
I quit reading this forum when it got so ugly during the civil service election but someone called me about this particular post. I probably should have long since learned that dealing with facts doesn't make a lot of difference to some posters but I'll attempt to refute some of Patriots allegations.
Retreat trips to large cities? Doesn't happen. When we have a council retreat it is always in either the Police Department training room or chambers in city hall. The council even reduced its training and travel budget this year to save money.$1,500 per council member isn't going to go very far towards a Las Vegas retreat.$15 for a $3 hammer? I've looked in Ace Hardware and Wal-Mart and there aren't any decent $3 hammers and our city purchasing agent does her best to get the best price on everything the city buys. To the best of my knowledge police officers working private events are paid by the event organizers and do not receive overtime pay. What specific services, within the city limits, should be done by the county rather than the city?
Patriot, the entire city budget is available to you on line for review, line by line. I welcome you to review it and find the fat you post about - understanding that your "fat" might be another resident's "necessary". I'm in the phone book and when you can find a lot of fat in the budget I would welcome your call to discuss alternatives.
You touched on almost all of my points in the above post. What I would like to here from you now is your take of the golf course.

And thank you for the invitation to call you, you're in the book, but I like to deal with these issues out here in the public. Too much 'stuff' is done in private and in Executive Sessions.
PATRIOT

San Antonio, TX

#16 Jun 4, 2012
Kenn Smith wrote:
<quoted text>
I quit reading this forum when it got so ugly during the civil service election but someone called me about this particular post. I probably should have long since learned that dealing with facts doesn't make a lot of difference to some posters but I'll attempt to refute some of Patriots allegations.
Retreat trips to large cities? Doesn't happen. When we have a council retreat it is always in either the Police Department training room or chambers in city hall. The council even reduced its training and travel budget this year to save money.$1,500 per council member isn't going to go very far towards a Las Vegas retreat.$15 for a $3 hammer? I've looked in Ace Hardware and Wal-Mart and there aren't any decent $3 hammers and our city purchasing agent does her best to get the best price on everything the city buys. To the best of my knowledge police officers working private events are paid by the event organizers and do not receive overtime pay. What specific services, within the city limits, should be done by the county rather than the city?
Patriot, the entire city budget is available to you on line for review, line by line. I welcome you to review it and find the fat you post about - understanding that your "fat" might be another resident's "necessary". I'm in the phone book and when you can find a lot of fat in the budget I would welcome your call to discuss alternatives.
It caught my attention that you somehow felt that I was using the examples as if I were claiming a factual expenditure in the Cove City budget. No, those were just some of the spending issues I have seen in my time.

Now, I don't know anything about you election problem that might have have caused a citizen fire storm. That seems to be the standard political climate of the day. But I really don't have to review your budget to find, as you put it, "a lot of fat". And I certainly don't want to be placed in a position to be accused of trying to macro-manage your Cove City business. But I do wonder why you avoided the management issue of the golf course.

I also want you to know the there is no such thing as "my fat". I find that transference of comment to almost being an accusation of being a 'trouble maker'. But it had a point. If my "fat' is some resident's "necessary", please tell me how many residents' necessaries would be paid for with the expenditures to run and manage a non-profit golf course that is subsidized by those same residents', and I would venture to say, and I could be wrong, most of whom never set foot on the course?
Kenn Smith

Waco, TX

#17 Jun 5, 2012
PATRIOT wrote:
<quoted text>
It caught my attention that you somehow felt that I was using the examples as if I were claiming a factual expenditure in the Cove City budget. No, those were just some of the spending issues I have seen in my time.
Now, I don't know anything about you election problem that might have have caused a citizen fire storm. That seems to be the standard political climate of the day. But I really don't have to review your budget to find, as you put it, "a lot of fat". And I certainly don't want to be placed in a position to be accused of trying to macro-manage your Cove City business. But I do wonder why you avoided the management issue of the golf course.
I also want you to know the there is no such thing as "my fat". I find that transference of comment to almost being an accusation of being a 'trouble maker'. But it had a point. If my "fat' is some resident's "necessary", please tell me how many residents' necessaries would be paid for with the expenditures to run and manage a non-profit golf course that is subsidized by those same residents', and I would venture to say, and I could be wrong, most of whom never set foot on the course?
Since the orignal topic was Copperas Cove's loss or revenue because of the tax examption it wasn't unreasonable to assume that you were talking about Cove. Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth weren't hit they way we were.

So far as the golf course issue, it is really a nonissue. It is one element of many in our recreation/leisure activities/quality of life offerings supported by tax revenues. If we shut all of them down which don't pay their way through user fees we wouldn't have much left - parks, swimming pools, youth recreation activities, the civic center - you name it and they all take more tax dollars than they bring in in revenue. Then, of course, there are things like the public library which are also tax supported. No one in our city uses all of them but we all pay a little bit towards others enjoyments and that really isn't all that big a deal for me. I don't, for example, play softball or swim but some of my tax dollars go to support the fields and pools for others. That's all part of living in a community.
PATRIOT

San Antonio, TX

#18 Jun 5, 2012
Kenn Smith wrote:
<quoted text>
Since the orignal topic was Copperas Cove's loss or revenue because of the tax examption it wasn't unreasonable to assume that you were talking about Cove. Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth weren't hit they way we were.
So far as the golf course issue, it is really a nonissue. It is one element of many in our recreation/leisure activities/quality of life offerings supported by tax revenues. If we shut all of them down which don't pay their way through user fees we wouldn't have much left - parks, swimming pools, youth recreation activities, the civic center - you name it and they all take more tax dollars than they bring in in revenue. Then, of course, there are things like the public library which are also tax supported. No one in our city uses all of them but we all pay a little bit towards others enjoyments and that really isn't all that big a deal for me. I don't, for example, play softball or swim but some of my tax dollars go to support the fields and pools for others. That's all part of living in a community.
So what you are saying is that these city amenities, like the golf course, can not be run by private investment? Would you have to "shut all of them down", other amenities, before exploring privatization? And if you did shut them down, all that would be left is parks, swimming pools, youth recreation activities, and the civic center, and how would that take more tax dollars to continue operation?

I can understand you position on paying taxes for something you don't , won't, or can't use. But I bet you play golf. I pay taxes to support all of those little yellow school buses you see running all over the place, but I don't get to ride in them. I do can assure you I do understand "my fair share concepts".

What I don't understand is the unwillingness of some, who are in the position to alter the end results, all but ignoring the will of the voters who voted from the 'exemptions'. It appears the there is an attitude that goes something like this,'the government can not give to the people, what it first does take from the people'.

But if you believe that the golf course is a non-issue, then your mind is made up. There's nothing to explore further. It will be interesting to see how you deal with lost revenue-but you're going to raise taxes on folks that are already having a rough go of it already. That may result in a few more public servants having more time to play a round of golf, or two.

Thank you for the time.
Foo Mann Chew

Copperas Cove, TX

#19 Jun 7, 2012
This city thinks that golf course is a sacred cow. All it does it lose money, year after year after year.
I think the reason they won't try and let a company lease it and run it is because no company would touch it. You can't make money on it. It's a crappy course and many people won't bother with it.
But damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. Cove will keep it and continue to lose money because a few of Cove's good ol' boys love to play golf.
PATRIOT

San Antonio, TX

#20 Jun 7, 2012
Foo Mann Chew wrote:
This city thinks that golf course is a sacred cow. All it does it lose money, year after year after year.
I think the reason they won't try and let a company lease it and run it is because no company would touch it. You can't make money on it. It's a crappy course and many people won't bother with it.
But damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. Cove will keep it and continue to lose money because a few of Cove's good ol' boys love to play golf.
Are you saying I would win my bet on who plays golf, but doesn't use the other city amenities?

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