McMinnville officials passed the city’s 2012-13 fiscal year budget Tuesday night. After one final push for a property tax decrease, the rate remains $2.09.
The budget passed the Board of Mayor and Aldermen with a vote of 4-1. Mayor Norman Rone and Aldermen Jimmy Haley, Billy Wood and Rick Barnes voted for the measure, while Vice Mayor Everett Brock voted against it.
The push came from the only dissenting vote.
“I know this is not popular, but I would like this board to consider a property tax decrease,” said Brock. “I feel this is something we should do. Even if we have to increase taxes in three to four years, which I’m not convinced that we would, a tax reduction would still give city residents a tax break until then.”
Brock began his push to lower the tax rate by 19 cents when the budget was before the Finance Committee, of which he is a member. The measure garnered no support.
After the committee meeting, but before the board meeting, Brock lowered his request from 19 cents to “any reduction.”
“It doesn’t have to be 19 cents,” said Brock. “I would be OK with any reduction. I don’t understand why this board refuses to even discuss it. We raised it when it was necessary. Now that it’s not, we need to give some back.”
Tuesday’s plea, once again, went without discussion.
Rone, who once supported a tax reduction, says future infrastructure projects changed his mind.
“In order to continue the projects that the city is wanting to do, such as street paving and water/ sewer line upgrades, I feel the tax rate needs to stay the same,” said Rone after the meeting.
A 19-cent tax rate reduction would have cost the city $380,000 in annual revenue. According to numbers generated by city administrator David Rutherford, the reduction would lead the city into a financial shortfall in three years. The city would end fiscal year 2014-15 with just $411,330 in its fund balance. However, $2 million is needed to meet the city’s financial obligations for the next year.