Councilmen broach idea of hiking property tax levy

City’s financial straits focused on cuts amid falling revenue

Public hearings will be held Monday on Jefferson City’s property tax levy and proposed 2014 budget.

The City Council is expected to take action and approve the property tax levy Monday after the public hearing. As of Thursday, there is no proposed change to the tax rate, keeping the property tax rate for the general fund at 46 cents and the Fireman’s Pension rate at .0961 cents.

But the city has the option to increase the tax rate for the general fund this year. City Administrator Nathan Nickolaus said the council could increase the property tax rate by about one and a half cents without a vote of the people.

Third Ward Councilman Bob Scrivner said though he’s not proposing to increase the rate, in a tight budget year he’s surprised there’s been no conversation about whether that rate should be increased.

“It’s never popular to raise taxes,” Scrivner said. “But it almost seems counterintuitive that we’re talking about not having revenues, revenues falling, and we’ve had no discussion at all about whether or not the property tax rate should be adjusted.”

Fifth Ward Councilman Ralph Bray requested information from staff on what the effect of increasing the property tax rate would have on the city’s general fund and on the average taxpayer.

The City Council will meet at 6 p.m. Monday at City Hall.

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