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Grandview tables decision on tax hike

GRANDVIEW - A decision on how much to ask Grandview taxpayers to increase their private utility taxes was tabled at a city council meeting last night in Grandview.

The city hosted three meetings since the last council meeting to get public input on how to pay for city services for the next two years.

Citizens were asked what they would be willing to bear as far as tax hikes. If tax hikes were not an option then the city wanted help in deciding which services to cut. The city needs $320,000 in additional revenue over the next two years to maintain basic services.

A 1 percent increase in private utility taxes would raise an additional $160,000 for the city. Several groups of residents at the recently held public meetings indicated raising this tax would be acceptable.

If the tax was raised 2 percent it would bring in the needed $320,000 next year. City Administrator Scott Staples recommended to council to ask voters to raise the tax by 2 percent for the next three years.

Councilman Jesse Palacios countered with 1 and a quarter percent for three years. Councilwoman Joan Souders then suggested raising the tax by 1 and a half percent for four years.

Confusion then reigned as Councilman Mike Bren said he wanted to raise taxes just enough to pay for what is needed. He also wanted to add a sunset clause to the tax.

The confusion came because council thought a 1 percent tax increase over the next two years would raise the $320,000 needed. Staples said it wouldn't, explaining a 1 percent increase would only raise $160,000 for 2009, not 2010.

Council was under the impression the increase would raise $160,000 each year.

Wanting to make sure everything is well understood before bringing this to voters, Bren suggested tabling the decision until Monday, March 10, for a 6 p.m. special meeting.

Once how much to raise taxes by is settled on, the city must present an application to the county auditor's office 45 days prior to the May 20 election.

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