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Friday, November 1, 2013

Rudy and the City Council want to and will raise your taxes

1-cent prepared food tax -  Rudy Wright - Inspiring Spaces - $80 million for Beautification

Property taxes - Property taxes WILL be raised in the next budget. It was talked about this year, but was inconvenient because of this municipal election.  The increase looks to be at least 6.5 cents. It was talked about during the City Council meeting of May 21, 2013.

I appreciated Alder Sally Fox's forward honesty in asking that the property tax be raised in the current budget. She took a stand on the issue and voted against the current year's budget, because she wanted to move forward on Inspiring Spaces.This happened during the June 4, 2013 City Council Meeting. I don't agree with raising taxes for Inspiring Spaces until it goes from being ambiguous to a solid blueprint that the community agrees to. Evidence is in the slides below.

You can hear the discussion in the links below:
Entire Budget Discussion
Taxing and Spending

Sally Fox wanted to raise the property tax rate in the current budget

Then we come to the minutes of the Inspiring Spaces meeting of June 6, 2013. Go read the excerpts below. Wonder why Meg Locke and this group are working so hard to get Rudy elected? Read below and you will understand.  

Ms. Locke commented that we are barely there. She stated that the committee probably did not need anybody to tell the group how to formulate a plan, or figure out what they believe is best. They could organize themselves and figure out how to some of that without quite as much direction. The bottom line is how are we going to pay for any of it?

Ms. Locke asked is staff going to recommend that we pay for it? She stated that on Tuesday night, staff didn’t recommend that we talk about raising taxes, two cents or three cents for Inspiring Spaces. She stated half of the committee is not here, she has watched it for years, if staff didn’t recommend and Council voted against raising taxes, what (money) do we have available to even talk about any projects right now? How much money is earmarked right now, before we decide the Water Park sounds great and there is no money mechanism in place? Is staff going to request a bond be passed? Is the committee going to do that?

Ms. Locke asked do we need to start raising money for the projects? One penny for the projects. She asked how much money right now do we have in the budget for Inspiring Spaces?

Mr. Stephen Shuford... Really starting to frame it out, get a sense of what should go first, what is most compelling, what is that iconic action that will give you the biggest bang for buck? Frame it out in terms that can be presented to Council.

Ms. Locke asked if Council could raise taxes then?
Mr. Mick Berry stated no, Council can only raise taxes once a year.
Ms. Locke stated that we are a year away.
Mr. Shuford stated that Ms. Locke’s concern was the cycle.
Ms. Locke replied absolutely; if that doesn’t happen then tell me how we are going to fund that? Give me some other ideas if we are a year away. For instance it is ten million dollars, they have decided on a ten million dollar project, so we are at least a year away from doing anything.

 Mayor Wright stated that he can assure them, to his knowledge that they have the commitment and will of ouncil. We can’t go sell this on the basis of a piece of paper. The selling is going to be critical. If we think that we are just going to lay it out there, and people are going to say, yes, I love that. No, there are people out there who are going to say, for example, till you close the libraries don’t talk to me about spending this money. We have orty thousand people out there, not just the people in this room. We have got to get this through, we can’t let it fail. We have to include these things, demolition of old buildings, and getting shovel ready sites for job creation. If we do that we create a package that everyone can find something in there they can agree on. He stated he is for doing every one of these things; incidentally he is thinking eighty million dollars.

(Remember at the June 4 Council meeting the Mayor was against raising taxes in the current budget.  Look what he says here.)  Mayor Wright commented we want this to happen, Tuesday set us back some, but we are going to come through it and we are going to make this happen. The only thing that could happen detrimental is that we lose four Council Members on that side of the table to a bunch of people that say no taxes. He stated that he does not (know) what happens then.

The Hound: As you can probably see now, on Tuesday you will be voting on whether or not you want your taxes raised to allow this small group of people, who are not accountable to the people of Hickory, to determine how to spend public money as they see fit on projects that may or may not have public support. Choose wisely my friends.

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