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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : local August 31, 2016

7/11/2013 1:27:00 PM
City Council sets ceiling on $70 million spending plan
Clarkdale sees increase in town’s property taxes
For the first time in three years, the Town of Clarkdale will increase its property tax levy.

Town Clerk Kathy Bainbridge said for every $100,000 of a property's assessed value, the owner will pay about $9.43 more in taxes.

"We've battled with it for three years," Bainbridge said. "Everybody's been having a hard time, but this year we just couldn't get by without doing anything."

Owners may not have to pay additional taxes if their property values decreased past a certain point. Bainbridge said the town is not yet sure where the break point is for each home.

There will be a public hearing on the increase July 23 at 3 p.m. at the Clark Memorial Clubhouse.

-- Yvonne Gonzalez

Jon Hutchinson
Staff Reporter

The Cottonwood City Council has adopted a $70 million tentative budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

No members of the public were on hand to discuss the spending plan Tuesday.

Cottonwood's Administrative Services Manager, Rudy Rodriguez, presented a Power Point to summarize the city's new spending plan.

He said issues for the city include a slow economic recovery and a high demand to add additional municipal services.

Several council members had called for permanent public restrooms at the Cottonwood Kids Park, an issue that Development Services Manager Dan Lueder deferred saying the fiscal year is already heavily committed, especially with road reconstruction work.

Rodriguez noted that the Highway User Revenue Funds are still held by the state. Those funds used to build roads have been deferred to support the state Dept. of Public Safety. The Local Transportation Assistance Funds portion, which underwrites transit, is also held by the state.

The city is working to improve its recovery rate for the Cottonwood Recreation Center; discounts have been removed and rate changes are proposed in the future.

There were seven requests for additional Cottonwood city staff positions, though none were filled this year.

The city was able to provide a 1.7-percent cost of living adjustment effective with the first paycheck of the new fiscal year. Merit and longevity increases were also included in the budget.

The council agreed to continue funding dependent coverage for health insurance, while premiums rose by 6.5% percent.

That was not the case for the three retirement programs, all which saw double-digit increases again.

The budget shows a 17-percent increase in all forms of revenue, but expenditure increased by 30 percent. The tentative budget is set at $70.875 million, a figure that is $16.6 million greater than the 2013 fiscal year budget.

Much of the increases are due to projects carried forward from the current budget year.

The tentative plan is set to be posted to the city website soon.

The final budget hearing and adoption is scheduled Aug. 13 during the 6 p.m. council meeting.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, July 13, 2013
Article comment by: Widening the income gap

"Cost of living adjustment" as a percentage of income is a joke.

With a 1.7% increase, a worker making $27,000 per year gets an extra $38.25 per month while a city official making $127,000 per year gets an extra $179.92 per month.

Has the cost of filet mignon, lobster, and fine wine increased 370% more than hamburger, fish sticks, and cheap beer? Does it cost 370% more to fuel a Lexus LS than a Ford Fiesta?

Cost of living is a fixed amount, and any cost of living adjustment should raise all salaries by the same amount.

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