A week after the City Council passed a series of tax hikes, Mayor Don Gough has vetoed two of them.
At Wednesday night’s meeting, council members learned that Mayor Gough nixed the higher utility and property taxes.
He said the utility tax increase from four to six percent should have a mechanism to lower it back down when the economy improves.
“Our residents and business deserve to know that at a definable and definite point the City Council will address some tax relief from utility tax increases that today we believe are necessary,” he wrote in a memo to the Council. “However, I don’t believe that our city should raise all the utility taxes, then take in millions of rebounding sales tax revenues and yet ignore and provide no basis or opportunity for future reductions of utility taxes.”
Mayor Gough also said the property tax increase of 35 cents per $1,000 of assessed value (about 11.5 percent) is too high. He had pushed for a three percent increase.
“The property tax passed by the council levies a real out of pocket increase in money to each resident (both home owners and to renters via landlord rent increases), and to each business in new increased property taxes of 11.5 percent. That increase is not acceptable,” he wrote.
Those two measures will come back to the Council this Monday night for reconsideration.
We’re awaiting comment from Council President Mark Smith and Vice President Kerri Lonergan-Dreke to find out what impact this will have on the budget talks and departmental cuts.