Again this year, the annual survey of city residents will include a host of questions about property taxes and what services/programs citizens support the most.
Mayor Don Haddix said this week that he is concerned the survey isn’t specific enough, particularly when it comes to explaining the issue with property taxes. He noted that when last year’s 1.25 mill property tax increase was approved, city staff projected a subsequent .5 mill hike necessary for this year and each of the following three years.
At last year’s budget talks, there was chatter about the city being able to negate the .5 mill property tax increases by being frugal with spending.
But any additional items chosen by residents on the survey, such as the Gathering Place senior citizen’s center expansion at a cost of $850,000, or the purchase of a new “bubble” to enclose the Kedron pool, would be added to the already planned .5 mill tax increase, Haddix insists.
The bubble allows the Kedron pool to be enclosed so it may be used during the non-summer months. Although the bubble is already in the city’s budget for next year, that budget has not yet been approved, Haddix said.
Haddix said wants the city to avoid a tax increase entirely this coming year. Part of making that happen might include a “no” to the bubble purchase, as Haddix noted many of the facility’s users come from outside the city.
The bubble would cost $250,000 to replace, but it lasts for about 15 years, Haddix said, noting there are also costs to putting it up and taking it down every year, along with the additional operating costs of running the swimming pool year-round.
“If you want it, fine, then tell us. If you don’t, tell us,” Haddix said.