Tax increase nixed |

Tax increase nixed

The City Council has nixed City Manager Tom Bakaly’s proposal to raise the property-tax rate by 6 percent, an idea that had drawn widespread criticism from Parkites.

Bakaly had wanted the elected officials to raise the rate in City Hall’s upcoming fiscal year, which starts in July. The city manager had argued that the money from an increase in the property-tax rate would stabilize City Hall’s budget.

It has been at least 20 years since the municipal government has raised its property-tax rate, and Bakaly had argued that the increase was needed to ensure the buying power of the money City Hall collects keeps pace with inflation.

But the elected officials and rank-and-file Parkites did not support the idea, with some saying that City Hall should instead reduce expenses. Some cost saving will likely come from reducing employee bonuses from 6 percent to 4 percent.

The tax increase would have cost someone owning a primary residence assessed at $800,000 an additional $33. People who own a vacation home of the same value would have paid another $52 while someone with commercial property valued at $800,000 would have paid another $54.

It is likely that City Hall will more extensively discuss the prospects of an increase in the property-tax rate before next year’s budget talks. The municipal government for years has relied on growth-related monies and sales taxes from an expanding economy for its revenues.

Bakaly argues, though, property taxes are more stable than the other revenue streams. He had wanted Williams and the City Council to support a blueprint that would have called for property-tax increases every other year for 15 years.

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