A bit of a property tax increase, three new police officers and a whole bunch more hours for the city’s public transit system are among the key proposals in City Manager David Corliss’ 2013 recommended city budget.
Corliss on Friday afternoon released his recommended budget for the coming year. Now, city commissioners will debate the proposal and come up with their own budget plan by early August. Here’s a look at the key points of Corliss’ proposal:
• The property tax mill levy would increase by 0.87 of a mill. A mill is $1 in tax for every $1,000 in assessed valuation. The owner of a $200,000 home would pay an extra $20.01 a year in property taxes if the mill increase is approved.
• Three new police officers would be added to the city’s force. Corliss is not recommending a previously-discussed multi-year funding plan that would increase both sales taxes and property taxes in order to fund a major expansion of the Police Department. That plan would involve funding a $30 million police headquarters facility, and adding 46 new officers over a four-year period. Corliss termed the proposal an incremental step, but said he believes the needs of the Police Department are significant.
“I don’t consider the three officers to be sufficient to meet the department’s needs,” Corliss said. “But I think it may be as much as the community and commissioners are willing to do next year. If they want to do more, that would be appropriate.”
• A pilot project to expand the operating hours of the city’s bus system would be undertaken with $250,000 of funds from an already-approved sales tax. The project would involve using two vehicles to offer “on-demand” service from the hours of 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday through Saturday. The service would require users to call the city ahead of time to arrange for a vehicle to pick them up. The service would allow for people to make standing appointments, such as someone who needs a ride to work each evening.
Check back to LJWorld.com for a more detailed report of the recommended budget.