Tax Hike to Fund Narcotics Unit

By Camaron Abundes
NewsWest 9

BIG SPRING- The City of Big Spring may need to tap into residents "pocket books" to fund a new five man narcotics unit. The city council made the first step toward the increase today when it made an unofficial vote to raise taxes by more than eight percent. A state mandate requires any city that intends to raise taxes by more than eight percent, called the rollback rate, on top o last years tax rate, called the effective rate, is required to hold two public hearings.

"If the council adopts a rate that is higher than the rollback than the citizens can petition for a rollback election," said Peggy Walker, who is in charge of the city's finances.

The average tax payer will get a chance to weigh in on the proposed hike August 28th but if Big Spring Chief of Police Lonnie Smith gets his way the city council will approve the rate increase, that would go into effect October 1st.

"Here at the cross roads of West Texas, we have larger metropolitan areas with heavy access to drugs. Their overflow is coming into our community," said Smith.

Mayor Russ McEwen thinks the unit will help lower drugs headed into the county and city.

"I am very in favor of it because by doing this we are going to make a message to drug dealers in big spring Texas, that we are going to do everything we can to apprehend them and put them out of business," said McEwen, "You always hate to raise taxes but when you have an opportunity to do this, it makes a tremendous amount of difference for our citizens."