The tax increase on the city of Auburn budget could be eliminated; cart recovery fees offered | Politics

AUBURN – The 3.3% property tax increase in the first draft of the Auburn City Budget 2021-22 may be winding down.

After receiving the comments of municipal councilors following the initial budget proposal submitted on 8 April, the municipal controller Rachel Jacobs presented Thursday to the Board a revised proposal that eliminates the tax increase and bridges the gap between spending and expected revenue. The general fund would amount to $ 37 910 312, an increase of 2.8% compared to the current budget. Advisors will give their opinion on the revised proposal next week. The final vote on the budget is scheduled June 3

A budget gap of $ 1.4 million as Jacobs pointed out earlier this month, was filled with a transfer of capital funds, which is filled by federal stimulus funds.

Other income included in the revised budget includes $ 635,000 from FEMA reimbursements related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The total capital fund transfers amount to $ 2.4 million. Jacobs said $ 1 million would basically go to “pay us back” for the purchase of 31 Seminary Street for the Public Safety Building, a project slated for completion later this year. “Two years ago we used the fund balance to buy this, so that would allow us to transfer that money,” she said.

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Jacobs said the city’s solid waste fund should have a gap of $ 155,000, the garbage collection gap should have a gap of $ 447,000 and the transfer station fund should have a gap of 419. $ 000, but each of these problems can be solved by transfers from the capital fund instead of increasing fees or rates.

“These three funds, if there are deficits at the end of the year, are covered by the balance of the general fund, then an interfund loan is set up to possibly be repaid,” she continued. “So at this time there will be no rate hike, but we will have to discuss the possibility of possible future hikes in order to maintain these funds.”

Jacobs also presented the board with a range of four property tax levy options, with the initial 3.3% increase being the largest increase. Councilor Jimmy Giannettino acknowledged the four different tax scenarios and said the council has decisions to make.

“Obviously our goal as landlords ourselves, we don’t want to pay taxes anymore, but the reality is that we provide services that the people of this city rely on, and it has never been so evident in over the past 14 months, “he said. “You look at the last 14 months, that’s why government exists, and this government, this local government, has done a hell of a good job responding, hopefully, to the worst pandemic we’ve ever seen, and it’s costing money I know people don’t I don’t like to hear that As a landlord I don’t like to hear that, but these are services we all rely on, and they are necessary services. “

City manager Jeff Dygert has asked that council add fees to the budget, with a discussion scheduled for next week. This included a $ 100 per cart charge to retailers on misplaced shopping carts that city crews pick up in the city and keep in stock until retailers can get them.

He called the shopping carts left across town “an ongoing problem for us, and not one particular retailer has the problem, but it’s ongoing. … It’s work for our people. public works departments, and some of these retailers think of it as if we are providing a service for them to pick up the caddies and either (return them) or put them in a safe place until they have time to do so. . “

Councilor Terry Cuddy supported adding this fee to the budget, while Giannettino said he would be open to hearing suggestions.

“We have to make it so that it makes sense for them to employ, maybe, their own people to take care of this,” Dygert said.

The city manager also referred to the recent property cleanups in the city. He noted that there had been occasional issues where people wondered whether the items that had been removed were of value and whether or not they should have been cleaned.

Dygert added that the city will pursue a new procedure whereby if there are any items of questionable value or value, those items will be impounded for a period of time. The owner will be notified and can pick up these items, but the City Manager would like a fee to be attached to this process.

Editor-in-Chief Kelly Rocheleau can be reached at (315) 282-2243 or Follow him on Twitter @KellyRocheleau.

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Peggy P. Gilmore