No property tax increase for 2009

November 4, 2008

NEW — 11:39 a.m. Nov. 4, 2008

In these tough economic times, the City Council feels your pain. On Nov. 3, council members decided to spare you more of it by declining to raise property taxes.

During better economic conditions, the council routinely raises property taxes by 1 percent each year. But this year, council members unanimously reversed course, saying this is not the time to further squeeze the citizens.

That 1 percent is the maximum increase allowed by state law without a public vote. The amount of money it would raise is small —about $62,000 in 2009 — but over time, the revenue helps pay down the city’s debt, Deputy Finance Director Trisha Draycott told the council.

While that is helpful to the city, the council did not find it a compelling enough argument for a tax increase.

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Water rates jump 15 percent

September 23, 2008

It’s a catch-22 for the city’s water users: If you use less, your bills will be lower — but that means city revenues will be lower, so officials will have to raise your rates.

Now, the city has done exactly that. Agenda Bill 5882, approved by the City Council on Sept. 15, calls for a 15 percent rate increase.

“Fifteen percent is not a low increase in anybody’s mind,” said Councilman John Traeger. “This was not a fun discussion. A lot of things were out of our control.”

One big item was a $2.2 million outlay for replacement of the Cougar Ridge reservoir, rather than the expected $200,000 for repair, said Sheldon Lynne, deputy director of Public Works Engineering.

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