City Manager Proposes Property Tax Increase
POSTED: Thursday, July 1, 2010 - 5:47pm
UPDATED: Monday, July 5, 2010 - 6:31pm
The proposal is a 3 cent tax increase for every 100 dollars of the property's value.
"Basically to accommodate the growth in public safety," said City Manager Joyce Wilson. "That is the only area with any substantial growth."
At Mayor John Cook's 'State of the City' address at the Camino Real Hotel Thursday, he made it clear that city leaders have accomplished a lot in the past year. He also made it clear that blood must be drawn in order to adapt to today's economic pressures.
He called for extra funding in a move that will have homeowners paying more. The mayor says a property tax increase is the only way to keep the police and fire departments up and running.
"We cant afford any more reductions," Cook said.
The proposal will be presented to the City Council on Tuesday. If they don't approve the increase, Mayor Cook says that police and fire departments will have to make concessions.
"One of the other alternatives for us of course would be furloughs," Cook said. "But you know we don't really want to furlough police officers. We don't really want to furlough firefighters." The mayor added in his speech that their main goal is to protect police and fire pension funds. He said this year the inflationary impact for public safety employees was more than five millions dollars.
"We took a lot of cuts everywhere else to make sure these public safety investments are in tact," Wilson said.
Wilson said that if voters are unhappy about the tax increase they can present their plan on where else to make cuts. But right now she's optimistic that the council will protect what she calls core public services. She also wanted to end on a light note, saying that despite the economic hurdles that El Pasoans still face, the city has already overcome its fair share of obstacles.
"We just had this great state of the city address that people should feel very comfortable and proud of what's happening here," Wilson said.