|2 town tax increases rely on voters|
|Written by Mark Lineberger|
|Wednesday, 16 June 2010 01:00|
The Camp Verde Town Council voted last week to put a potential
1-cent sales tax increase out to voters for consideration. If it passes, the money would go toward funding various municipal projects, such as street maintenance and operation of the town’s senior center.
The money would provide some breathing room for a budget strained by the economy and other funds withheld by the state as it tries to fix its own financial problems.
Another measure, one that would raise sales taxes by a half-cent, was put forward by a citizen’s group looking to fund improvements to the town’s park land and the construction of a new library.
Calling itself the Citizens of the New Library and Park Construction Sales Tax Initiative, the group was organized in part by local residents Jim Ash and former Town Councilman Charlie German. The group turned in more than enough signatures last week to get the question put on the November ballot; the county must verify the signatures are valid.
Plans for a library have already been drawn up and a nonprofit group has been working to raise money to cover the multi-million price tag. The rest of the money would go toward the park. The town purchased 118 acres of land from the U.S. Forest Service a couple of years ago and hired a consulting firm to work with the public to draw up plans for future development. However, the contracting economy has left no money for development.
Specifically, the resident-sponsored proposal calls for money to be put toward developing an eastern entrance to the park. Currently, the town has plans to build an entrance off of McCraken Lane first; the eastern entrance was deemed too expensive. The measure also calls for money to be funneled toward building infrastructure like water lines and electricity, along with ball fields, a concession stand and a multi-room building.
The town voted to approve the council-sponsored tax ballot question following a closed-door discussion with its attorney.
Mayor Bob Burnside said the 1-cent tax increase, if approved, would not apply to construction or hotel taxes. It would only increase sales taxes that are currently at 2 percent. Taxes already set at 3 percent would not be affected.
While any additional money generated would go into the town’s general fund, the council said it will mail out a pamphlet outlining projects the money could pay for.
That explanation will be especially important, Councilwoman Robin Whatley said, because she doubts the public would approve a tax increase that was earmarked simply for “municipal services.”
Town Clerk Debbie Barber said holding a special election in November to address these two tax proposals will cost the town between $9,000 and $10,000.
Wednesday, July 7, is the deadline to submit exact wording to the county for a measure to make it on the ballot in November, Barber said, adding the town will look to finalize its ballot item at its Wednesday, June 23, meeting.