Walla Walla City Council members chip in on levy hike

Dominick Elia and Shane Laib voiced disapproval, but no action was taken to prevent the increase.

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WALLA WALLA -- In a show of fiduciary candor that cut against the grain of rubber-stamped tax increases, Council members Dominick Elia and Shane Laib spoke out Wednesday night against taking a legitimate, authorized and, depending on who you ask, needed property tax increase of one percent.

"I think the electorate responded loud and clear yesterday, they are tired of our taxes," Elia said. Then Elia added, "I don't think that one percent is all that important."

It seemed as though Elia was about to make his stand alone when Laib also spoke against the allowed tax increase.

"I think the voters spoke loud and clear last night. And they are not done speaking ... I think new taxes are not the answer," Laib said.

The other five council members were silent, but no motion was needed to advance the property tax levy increase.

Staff was instructed to go ahead with preparing a revision that will include the one-percent increase, which is expected to be reviewed and eventually approved by Council later this month with other 2011 budget matters.

According to Support Services Director Tim McCarty, the one percent amounts to $46,500 or roughly one percent of $4.65 million in property taxes the city collected in 2010.

Because inflation for the 2009-2010 fiscal year was measured at 1.539 percent by the Implicit Price Indicator, state law allows city officials to increase the levy up to one percent.

Alfred Diaz can be reached at alfreddiaz@wwub.com or 526-8325.

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