Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tax Hike coming for the City of Madison Due to Budget Deficit?

Cutting services or raising taxes are among the options the Madison City Council will have to consider as it mulls a budget deficit for fiscal year 2011.

City of Madison accountant Karen Guinn told the council the city’s general fund has a deficit of $168,000.

“The balance will either have to come from our reserve or possibly a slight raise in property taxes,” Guinn said.
Guinn submitted a budget proposal to the council and gave examples of tax increases. Worst case, she said, raising property taxes by the whole deficit would increase the tax amount on a $100,000 home by $45 a year and on a $250,000 home by $114 a year.

Though the numbers are not yet finalized, the tax digest is down by about 7 percent, she said.

“We cannot continue to take money from reserve,” Mayor Bruce Gilbert told the council, adding that the budget will have to be funded through raising taxes, cutting services or some other means.

“(Nobody wants) taxes and I don’t want taxes either, but we do run a business,” Gilbert continued. “We’ve got to do the best we can to spend the people’s money as wisely as we can.”

The city has scheduled budget hearings for 6 p.m. on June 3 and 8:30 a.m. on June 4.
“Everybody has a right to come and will have a chance to make comments,” Gilbert said.

In other city council news:

• Council decided to postpone discussion of the signing of a contract with Utility Service Company until its next meeting. City Manager David Nunn said the county owns the tank though it is part of the city’s water system. Gilbert said the city wants more information on where it stands with regard to ownership of the tank.

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