Stanford council rejects mayor's recommended tax increase

August 20, 2003|EMILY BURTON

STANFORD - Property taxes will not increase more than usual this year after City Council members voted against a recommended 4 percent increase Tuesday.

The rate would have increased taxes from $0.123 per $100 of assessed value to $0.126, or added about $2.40 on an $80,000 home.

The raise would have generated about $4,812 in revenue for the city, money Mayor Eddie Carter was hoping to get.

"I don't think any citizen can say we haven't cut and cut and cut, and laid off employees, and this is the cost of a pack of cigarettes," said Carter. "We're in a financial crisis, people."

Council member Steve Lucas was against the tax hike, saying the extra money would not go far enough to cover expected raises in health insurance premiums this November.


"$4,800 is pretty piddley to what we're actually going to need," said Lucas. "You're going to get a whole lot of criticism for $4,800."

Although the city voted against the 4 percent increase, tax revenue will increase by $1,689, due to new property built in the city.

According to City Clerk Sandy Gooch, the city is owed more in uncollectable property taxes than the 4 percent increase would have generated. Gooch estimated the amount owed at about $5,000.

Carter said it is an issue that needs to be addressed, though it's difficult to force payment. Often times, legal fees incurred by the city while trying to prosecute tax evaders are higher than the actual tax money owed.

"We've cut and cut and cut, but I think we can look the taxpayers in the eye and say, 'we've done our job,'" said Carter, speaking in favor of the raise.

"If taxes are all you have to run a city on, then God help us," said council member Geneva Owens. "I'm against raising taxes, even a quarter."

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