Walla Walla City Council to weigh tax hike

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WALLA WALLA -- On Wednesday, the City Council will review proposed tax increases for next year, with city officials recommending the Council approve a .44 percent increase that would net the city an additional $47,376 for 2012.

The total to be collected next year by the city would be $4,758,418. If approved, the increase would add about a dollar in taxes for the owner of a $100,000 home, from $238 to $239, according to a city report.

In addition, the Council will review an alternative that could help bring in hundreds of thousands more, but also increase the city's allotted taxes beyond the 1 percent yearly cap.

State law limits cities to no more than a 1 percent increase in property taxes for each year, and for a number of years the city took less than that amount. But cities are allowed to tap into increases they hadn't taken, and one of the alternatives to be reviewed Wednesday would have the city collect an additional $346,012 of that banked levy capacity.

City officials are expecting budget reductions due to proposed state cuts for 2012, and in their property tax report, city officials said collecting banked levy funds in 2012 would be "a greater hedge against further revenue declines and the consequent reduction in services."

Another alternative offered would be to increase the full 1 percent allowed, but without using any banked funds.

The Wednesday meeting will be open to public testimony and will take place at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 15 N. Third Ave.

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

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