Vernon City Commissioners are hoping to finally get a handle on the massive financial failings they've experienced this year. However, by doing so, it means increased property taxes for residents.
“We want to get Vernon set for the future,” said Mayor Joe Rogers. “So we hope that with the budget cuts we did, plus the increases with revenue, that we'll be able to afford what we have today and that’s the main thing. Then go forward and put us in a good situation for the future.”
They will do that by raising property taxes by 18 cents. That would increase the current rate of 38 cents to 56 cents.
It would also create a special fund to retire the city debt. Of the 18 cent increase, 17 cents will go to an Interest and Sinking rate. Generating $718,000 that toward the annual debt payment.
“There’s lots of negative out there, you know it hurts, and I understand there’s lots of people on fixed income,” said Rogers. “There’s lots of business, and people it’s going to affect.”
One of the city largest employer’s has already reached out to commissioners. Tyson Foods say the new rate could mean job cuts for the plant.
“They are probably not going to have to cut, but it’s a possibility,” said Rogers.
Rogers said the increased rates are the only other option for the city. Vernon resident Pamela Gosline has been following the budget workshops, and in a previous interview voiced her opinion.
“It affects a lot of people and unfortunately the time is bad for raising taxes,” said Gosline. “It really is. With the water rates and the property taxes going up, and no one's income is going up.”
But she said if it means keeping Vernon a float it's something she's will to pay.
“I think if we don’t do it to a small degree, Vernon's going to be a ghost town in ten years,” said Gosline.
The new rate is just a proposal. Residents will have the opportunity to speak out at two public hearings. One is scheduled for August 25th, and the other is September 8th. Both of those are at 5:30 p.m. at Vernon City Hall.
As the new rate generates funds for city debt they do have the opportunity, next year, to lower those rates. Commissioners won’t officially adopt the rate until September 22.