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December 19, 2014

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Henderson City Council tables decision on property tax hike

Updated Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014 | 10:05 p.m.

The Henderson City Council decided today to delay talks about a property tax increase until after the state Legislature meets next year.

City officials have been discussing the tax hike since earlier this year as a way to cover an annual shortfall of $17 million needed to maintain roads, sewers, city vehicles and other infrastructure.

The proposed increase of up to 20 cents per $100 in assessed value would cost the owner of a $175,000 home an extra $122.50 per year. If the maximum increase were imposed, the rate would rise from 71 cents to 91 cents, still lower than in Las Vegas or North Las Vegas.

An increase would require voter approval, and on Tuesday night the council discussed whether to put the issue on the ballot.

After more than an hour of discussion, the council voted unanimously to postpone a decision until next year.

The delay will give the city time to see whether the state Legislature changes or lifts property tax caps that have constrained the growth of city revenues. The caps were imposed in 2005 to limit the pain of skyrocketing property values and tax bills. The caps prevent property tax bills from rising more than 3 percent for homes or 8 percent for commercial properties in a given year.

But in the wake of the recession, the caps have limited the growth of Henderson’s tax revenues even as property values have rebounded. Chief Financial Officer Richard Derrick said the city would have an extra $8 million this year if the caps weren’t in place, about half of its current deficit.

Mayor Andy Hafen said something has to be done to address the city’s infrastructure needs.

“No one’s denying that we need an increase, because we do,” he said.

But action by the Legislature could change the amount of the property tax increase.

“We’re going to know at the end of the Legislative session where we’re at,” Hafen said.

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