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Council Decides to Reduce Property Tax Hike

The Mayor and Council went over City manager’s proposed FY 2014 budget last Saturday and also last night and made some adjustments.

The major change we made was reducing the property tax hike by 25% (from 0.34 to 0.335 per $100 of assessed value). Considering the PILOTs and the impact on personal property tax, this will cost the City approximately to generate $110,000 in revenue.

The City plans to make up this amount from a number of sources:

  • Decrease litigation expenditures from $25,000 to $15,000. Since the Council has places rent stabilization on hold, the City’s litigation expenditures have decreased, so we voted to amend the budget to reflect that.
  • Decrease the Assistant City Manager position from 12 months to 9 months – with salary and benefits this will save the City about $27,000.
  • Restore the contract police program to the full number of hours – due to benefit changes for police officers, the cost of hiring them has increased, and the City Manager proposed reducing the hours of contract police by 0.05 FTE’s. This will keep the FTE’s constant at a cost of $5,200.
  • Increase occupancy permit fees approximately 6% to have occupancy permit revenue cover 75% self-support of Code Enforcement programs – this will raise approximately $45,000.

The other changes include an increase in mayor and council’s salary (for new Council) 10% with fringe benefits, effective 01/01/14 ( for 6 months). This will only cost the City 2,562. My colleagues argued that the salary has not increased for the past 6 years following the inflation rate changes. It passed 7-0-1. I abstained from voting, given timing of change, when we’re asking our residents to pay extra in their property taxes. The Council also decided to increase student liaison stipend by 10% ($150/month).

Council member Wojahn and I, together with Councilmembers Dennis, Catlin and Mitchell, will be holding a town hall meeting to answer questions about the budget and the FY 14 Action Plan and hear your comments and concerns on Monday, April 29 at 7 pm at Davis Hall. The public hearing on the budget will be held on Tuesday, May 14, before the Council meeting.

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