Council and public discuss proposed tax increase at meeting
“If we reduce spending, I will be in support of a tax increase, but right now, I just can’t support it.” -Kim Houston, Ward 4
“With the continued waste and abuse that’s going on in our local government, it’s like a slap in the face to the voters to raise their taxes at this time.” -Weston Lindemann, Ward 5
While the mayor and a few others are in favor of a tax increase, some on the city council are against it.
“Our constituents who I talked to in my ward, they’re really concerned about the tax increase. Again, if my constituents in my ward do not want it, I’m going to go with what my constituents are saying,” says Councilman Tyrone Johnson.
Weston Lindemann says, “Revenues have been stagnant, but our expenses are going up. So, we’ve got to control our costs, eliminate wastes, and hopefully come with a balanced budget that’s not going to require a tax increase. I think that we can do that, but its going to take some hard decisions on the part of the council to decide what to cut. Then, its going to take responsibility on behalf of the administration to manage the money properly.”
Councilwoman Kim Houston says spending is a major issue within the city and that a tax increase is not appropriate at this time.
“If we cut spending, maybe next year we can look at a tax increase, because what I’m hearing from the people I serve is that why should we have a tax increase when we haven’t got spending under control. We’ll be in the same place, yet again, next year having the same conversation.” -Houston
Mayor Bland expresses concerns about overall costs and says that we have not had a tax increase since 2008 and that with the rise in cost in living, this tax increase is needed.
“I’m sure that as I look over these costs that I have here, housing has gone up 18%, daycare has gone up 45%, four-year college tuition has gone up 45.6%.” -Mayor Bland
This tax increase is to be voted on within the next two weeks. The council as a whole will also be looking into the budget further in terms of the unfilled, yet funded city positions to see if that can save the city money.