Taylor Mill May Need Budget Cuts After Commission Declines Any Tax Increase
The City of Taylor Mill will be looking for budget cuts after the city commission opted not only to decline a property tax increase but also the so-called compensating rate designed to ensure that the city takes in as much money as it did in the previous fiscal year.
City Administrator Jill Bailey, anticipating that the appetite was not there to accept a proposed 4 percent tax increase, had an ordinance prepared that would allow the city to accept the compensating rate.
However, because that would change the tax rate from 0.439 per $100 of property value to 0.464, Commissioners Sarah Frietch and Phil Peace were vocal in recognizing that as a tax increase.
Like other cities, Taylor Mill is facing increased expenditures, particularly related to state-mandated pension contributions and fewer state dollars for roads.
Commissioner Phil Peace said that he did not want the compensating rate, either, and wanted the exact same rate as last year.
"It is not fair to keep burdening residents with taxes," Peace said. "In my house, if we have a problem with the budget we stop spending."
Mayor Dan Bell said that would be OK with him because it has long been his mantra not to raise taxes. Bailey said that if the city keeps the same tax rate, it will have to make cuts in the budget, and the commissioners agreed.
"A budget should never be made anticipating a tax raise," said Frietch.
"it's more than political, it's the right thing to do," said Peace. "We can't tax our way out of the pension problem."
Peace suggested that maybe the city could look at other ways to help, like having an apartment licensing fee similar to other cities. Commissioner Mark Kreimborg suggested that that could be like substituting one tax for another.
"It's something to look at," Peace said. "You also have to look at if the taxes are commensurate with services."
In the end, it was a unanimous vote to keep the tax rate the same as last year, which was also the same as the year before. Bailey quickly changed the ordinance to reflect the commission's wishes, and the first reading was officially held.
Commissioners also listened to the first reading of an ordinance setting the trash collection rate, a fee that goes out on the tax bills. Currently residents pay $145 a year per dwelling, but since the city had to negotiate a new contract this year, and only received two bids, both of which were significantly higher than current price, the rate is going up to $175 per year.
Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor