Walla Walla City Council OKs tax hike

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WALLA WALLA — A property tax hike that includes use of banked levy increases passed 4-3 at a City Council meeting Wednesday night.

The tax-raising ordinance was a follow-up to a resolution approved by Council two weeks ago, when members debated heavily on whether they should move forward with a 3.8 percent banked levy increase that would cost the owner of a $160,000 home and additional $13 in taxes next year. That hike was on top of an allowed 1 percent increase also approved by the Council.

Council Members Shane Laib, Ron Plucker and Conrado Cavazos voted against the increase, with Laib and Plucker questioning if the city could make better use of $4.03 million in vehicle replacement funds.

City Manager Nabiel Shawa and Council member Barbara Clark noted, however, that a large portion of the vehicle replacement fund derives from and is dedicated to enterprise funds, such as trash and water, and cannot be used to boost the general fund.

Next year the city will put $250,000 into its vehicle replacement fund and another $275,000 in 2014 to cover costs for new police cars, lawn mowers, fire trucks and other vehicles.

The last two years, however, city officials forwent putting money into the fund because of budget shortfalls and a poor economy.

Faced with yet another two years of shortfalls and a slow-to-recover economy, Laib and Plucker questioned if the city should again forgo putting money into the fund and instead give residents and business owners a tax break by not taking the banked levy capacity.

“I own my own small business and it (the economy) isn’t great, and I don’t have a vehicle replacement fund that I can go into” Laib said.

The property taxes approved by Council members Mayor Jim Barrow, Barbara Clark, Jerry Cummins and Mary Lou Jenkins include a 1 percent regular levy increase allowed by state law that will net the city an additional $47,697.

The 3.8 percent banked levy increase will net the city an additional $185,228 next year.

The Council also approved increases for new construction and annexations, which will net the city an additional $24,000 next year but won’t increase tax rates paid by property owners.

Comments

namvet60 1 year, 4 months ago

Whoever made the statement these Council Members are Republicans is way off base! If they are they are way Left of Center - being a conservative lower the taxes and charge everyone the same that shops in the Walla Walla Valley and no one would mind paying a share of the taxes. When you discriminate against the citizens living within the Walla Walla tax paying area to pick up the tab for every pebble turned is ridiculous.

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kowjak 1 year, 4 months ago

Our local taxes have been unfairly reduced by our tax-exempt internet shopping, cutting our state and local budgets. I shop online a great deal myself, and should not worry if I were appropriately taxed for the availability of parts and supplies not available locally, or at least without an hour's drive. We cannot continue to starve our government for revenue! -- Jack

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namvet60 1 year, 4 months ago

If the government feels starved cut the size of government. I work for my money and I pay taxes but I dislike having to pay for couch potatoes and the mutilple areas to close loopholes for money just going to Olympia for the distribution by Unions. I like to be able to spend some of my own money - Thank You.

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chrismac 1 year, 4 months ago

Have you checked the size of your local government lately? This is a local tax, not a state or federal tax. Local government has shrunk. Both the WWPD and WWFD are losing positions. And those unions that you're apparently upset with? They made concessions and were slapped in the face when immediately afterwards department heads were given raises! Unions aren't faceless ogres, they're made up of taxpayers like everyone else. I think you need to check your facts namvet60.

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chrismac 1 year, 4 months ago

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namvet60 1 year, 4 months ago

Let me explain my position and facts are apparent! I work in the private sector and before I see any money I'm taxed Federal, Medicare & Soc Sec. Then the double dipping starts - Property tax, Sales tax, Gas tax & licensing tax to name just a few. Also if you look on your utility bills everyone has a Local & State tax that you pay. Now I have stated before multiple times that if they lowered the Sales tax to a decent level ( such as 4.5%) and charged everyone that shops here they would have more money than they know what to do with. But NO the citizens of Walla Walla have to foot the bill for every little bit of maintenance & upkeep that is created by multiple persons and not all from Walla Walla. Now where have my facts gone astray??

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namvet60 1 year, 4 months ago

chrismac - as a reminder in the paper today it stated that they were uncertain of the upcoming contract talks and I can't help that your government slapped you in the face because why wasn't there conversation about the reversal on the salaries. My money is going out no matter who is getting paid what and I'm tired of it. If you hadn't noticed the private sector wages are stagnant but I'm sure your not concerned with that even if it is the taxpayers getting thrown under the bus!

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chrismac 1 year, 4 months ago

Sounds like you're making some assumptions about me and what I'm concerned with. You know what happens when you assume... I pay taxes just like everyone else, and believe it or not I agree with you that everyone shopping in WA should pay the same taxes. That's a state issue, but unfortunately I don't think it's an issue our legislators want to touch.

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namvet60 1 year, 4 months ago

I was not assuming anything other than the fact I was explaining my facts to put into prospective of what I had said from your comment. I was being crucified and won't to clear up a point!

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