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Proposed budget increases tax rate

By Staff
Tax on $100K home would rise to $630 if approved by council
By MIKE VOSS
Contributing Editor
City Manager James C. Smith’s proposed budget for Washington calls for a three-cent increase in the city’s property-tax rate, now at 60 cents per $100 property valuation.
The proposed budget was presented to the council after the conclusion of its meeting Monday night. Neither council members nor the mayor commented publicly about the proposed budget.
The proposed increase in the property-tax rate would put that rate at 63 cents per $100 property valuation. That means the tax on a $100,000 home would increase from $600 a year to $630 a year.
The council begins its deliberations on the proposed 2008-2009 budget at 4:30 p.m. Monday.
The overall proposed budget comes to $62.4 million. The existing budget is at $69.3 million. Most of the difference between the existing budget and proposed budget is the $6.33 million in capital-project funds, including $5.58 million associated with the city’s new fire station.
The proposed general-fund budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, is at $15,168,755. The current general-fund budget is at $15.7 million.
The proposed budget for Washington Electric Utilities comes in at $37.6 million. The current WEU budget is at $37.8 million.
In June 2006, the council increased the property-tax rate from 55 cents to 60 cents per $100 valuation, but the spending plan submitted by Smith called for an eight-cent increase. The council chose to implement a five-cent increase instead.
Smith’s budget message notes that fuel costs for public-safety and public-works vehicles have increased by $25,000 (or 12 percent) this fiscal year, which is equal to a half-cent on the city’s tax rate. A penny on the tax rate generates about $55,000 for the city.
The budget message includes a section titled “The Challenge.”
The city has until June 30 to adopt a budget for the next fiscal year, but it can adopt a short-term interim budget if it doesn’t have a new spending plan in place by June 30.