City Council nixes increase in property tax

MARYSVILLE By a 4-3 margin, City Council bucked the recommendation of the administration and voted down a proposed 1 percent property tax increase.
The tax would have raised about $73,000 next year, with those funds earmarked for a community policing program. But several Council members said community policing was not the real issue.
The property tax for me is an issue of principle, said Councilman Jon Nehring.
Council members Jeff Seibert and Jeffrey Vaughan echoed Nehrings views. Vaughan added he felt somewhat manipulated by the administration.
It feels like Ive been played, he said, voicing a fear that any votes against the tax would be seen in some quarters as votes against Marysville police. Councilwoman Carmen Rasmussen was the most vocal proponent for the tax, but said she never meant to equate supporting or not supporting the tax with supporting or not supporting community policing.
Prior to the Council meeting, Rasmussen said the extra funds would allow police to name one officer whose sole duty would be dealing with volunteers, setting up neighborhood crime watches and similar undertakings.
The state allows cities to raise property taxes 1 percent each year without a vote of the public. Councilwoman Donna Wright noted Marysville hasnt taken advantage of that opportunity for several years. She felt taking the increase this year could serve as a hedge against any unforeseen slips in sales tax collections.
For the first time in Marysville history, sales taxes have begun to outstrip property taxes as a city revenue source.
Without comment, Councilman John Soriano joined Rasmussen and Wright in supporting the tax. Besides Vaughan and Nehring, Council members Lee Phillips and Jeff Seibert voted against the issue.
Without fanfare or debate, Council unanimously passed a separate 1 percent property tax increase to support the citys EMS.
In the past, although he strongly opposed raising property taxes for the citys use, Vaughan said he did not oppose the increase for EMS use partly because the fire district has no other means to raise funds.
Overall, Council adopted, by a 6-1 vote, a $118 million spending plan for 2008. Covering the citys day-to-day operations, general fund expenditures should amount to roughly $30.8 million.

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