Wooden judges gavel on wooden table, close up

Avondale property tax rates are going down slightly.

And yet many in Avondale may be paying as much—if not slightly more—on their tax bills starting in October.

That, explained Lindsey Duncan, Avondale’s finance and budget, is because the value of Avondale homes is generally rising.

“In positive-growth periods like we were in until COVID-19, as valuation goes up, in order to levy the same amount the (rate) decreases,” she said.

The proposed total rate is 1.4242 per $100,000, a decrease from the current 1.6543 per $100,000.

And the total Avondale collects would also decrease slightly, from around $7.2 million to about $6.6 million.

Even though the secondary home tax is being reduced, since the primary portion has a proposed increase, the city is required to hold a public meeting on the matter. It is scheduled for 7 p.m. June 15  at Avondale City Council Chambers, 11465 W. Civic Center Drive.

Avondale City Council is scheduled to vote on the proposed tax at its July 27 meeting.

This month, City Council is expected to formally approve a $280 million budget. Council tentatively approved a budget in that amount May 18. A public hearing on the budget was scheduled for the June 1 meeting, with the council to formally vote on the budget June 15. Avondale’s fiscal year begins July 1.

The budget includes 625 full-time employees, an increase of 7% from the current budget’s 585 full-time employees.

That is one of the driving forces of a budget that increased by 18% over the current year’s $236 million.

“Generally, we’re seeing increasing costs for city services,” Duncan said. “Increased cost of city utilities like electric and gas, as well as city staff salaries and benefits.

“Overall, as any business would, we see cost increases on an annual basis.”

But, Duncan promised, Avondale residents “will see increases in citywide services. There have been a number of projects completed, such as Festival Fields Park. And (residents are) going to see increases in the services provided to them.

“We have added public safety positions —police and fire— to support the public.”

Unlike other cities, Avondale’s sales-tax revenues have not fallen dramatically after business closures due to COVID-19.

“We’re still up, year over year. We’re still generally tracking with our expectations,” Duncan said.

Though April sales-tax figures have not been released, Duncan said March sales-tax revenues that came to Avondale were slightly higher than the year before.

As such, Avondale still expects to collect about $36 million in sales tax this year, which is slightly more than half of the $70 million in revenues that go to the city’s general fund.

At $18 million, the Avondale Police Department is the biggest general fund expenditure, with the Avondale Fire and Medical Department second at just under $10 million.