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Council reconsiders property tax

 


Although no one chose to testify at a public hearing on Oct. 19 on the mayor’s proposed budget, including no increase on the city’s property tax levy, council wasn’t sure that was a good idea.

After the Oct. 19 discussion of the budget, council requested more information on the potential impact of a 1 percent increase as allowed by state law, without a vote of the people.

Councilwoman Marilyn Oertle explained the reason for reconsidering the property tax levy.

“There are a lot of unknowns in next year’s budget,” she said.

Oertle said she is never happy about increasing taxes, but this would cost property owners just $4 and change, total, for the year.

“We’ve been so far behind for so long, it’s worth it,” she said, explaining that the two-year contract with Bruce Stedman as safety director, covering both fire and police, expires on June 30.

“We might need to hire a new police chief,” she said.

Also, the city has not yet finalized an agreement with the union of city employees that will determine wages in the year ahead.

So at the Oct. 26 workshop meeting, Finance Director Kristin Garcia presented three options in setting the 2016 property tax levy:

Option 1: No tax increase, preserve 1 percent capacity for future use.

Option 2: Increase tax levy by .251 percent to raise $9,832. The remaining capacity up to 1 percent would be reserved for future use.

Option 3: Increase tax levy by 1 percent with no capacity to preserve. The 1 percent increase would provide $39,174 for next year’s budget.

Garcia pointed out that additional revenue might be received due to new construction, refunds and value of state assessed property.

“And, we are trying to build up our reserves,” Oertle said.

Tax resolutions must be adopted and submitted to Snohomish County no later than Nov. 30, Garcia said.

The revised 2016 budget showed a change to capital projects proposed at the Arlington Municipal Airport after discussion earlier. Some runway pavement preservation will be delayed for more comprehensive paving later on.

Council was scheduled to vote this Monday, Nov. 2, on the general property tax levy, the budget, an EMS Tax Levy an a collective bargaining agreement with the Police Officers Association.

Council was also expected to approve an inter-local agreement Snohomish County Emergency Management and an amendment to a contract with Blue Marble Recycling.

This week, a provisional police officer, Lucas Adkins, and a temporary firefighter/EMT, Chris Peterson, and a new K9 officer, Tara, were to be sworn into service. K9 Annie was officially retired.

 

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