Sure sucks to be a resident of Spring Valley, where the I-10 expansion will destroy its tax base in addition to uprooting a bunch of homes.
Land is finally being cleared for the long-awaited freeway-widening project, and a chunk of Spring Valley's homes and almost all of its businesses are about to be razed -- reducing the city's tax base at a time when aging streets and sewers badly need to be replaced.
To offset the loss, city officials are proposing a 6 percent property tax increase for fiscal year 2003-04, raising the rate on homes to 40.7 cents per $100 assessed value from 38.4 cents.
The freeway expansion will strip the city of at least 90 percent of its commercial property, valued at $15.3 million, said [City Manager Richard] Rockenbaugh.
This includes buildings occupied by two restaurants, Ciro's Cibi Italiani and The Great Charcoal Chicken Co., and another by 24-Hour Fitness. All three are in a shopping center at Old Katy and Campbell, and their disappearance will mean the loss not only of city property tax revenue but sales tax as well.
Although the exact amount of sales tax revenue is unknown, Rockenbaugh said city officials are budgeting for $250,000, down from $484,000 two years ago.
If the businesses are forced to move in the next three months, he said, sales tax revenues for the fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1, could drop to $150,000 or less.
Spring Valley's tax rolls will dwindle further with the loss of 56 houses, mostly on Bunningham and Lariat, with a taxable value of $9.2 million.
Other small cities along the Katy Freeway -- mostly on its south side -- will be largely unaffected by the expansion.
Transportation Department officials said they chose a northern expansion because the south side of the freeway is more heavily developed with both businesses and residences and because the north side included a broad swath of former railroad right of way.