Raleigh Considers Property Tax Increase
Posted May 18, 2004 5:49 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — For the first time in 12 years, the Raleigh City Council is considering a property tax increase.
To keep up with the city's current level of service, City Manager Benson Allen said a 3-cent property tax increase is necessary. He is also proposing a 10 percent increase in inspection fees and a 9 percent increase in water and sewer rates.
Despite the proposed increases, Allen said living in Raleigh is considered a bargain as opposed to other Triangle cities and towns. He said the increases are needed to help pay for the $8 million project to reopen Fayetteville Street Mall to traffic.
Raleigh City Councilman Michael Regan said those increases to taxpayers do not sit well with him.
"Especially, when there is no evidence to show that it is going to do any good for our city. Of course, it is not fair to pay for it," he said.
An additional $9 million from a property tax increase would pay for 23 new police officers for gang and computer crime units. It would also increase the minimum pay for police officers and firefighters.
Councilman Philip Isley said he would rather see a cut in services instead of a tax hike. He said the city is in the financial situation it is in because the state withheld $10 million in sales tax money two years ago.
"This is ridiculous that we are sitting here having to make these kind of decisions and the communities, towns, municipalitites in North Carolina are going to be ignored," he said.
Despite the tax increase, the budget does not fund some projects, including expanding public transit. A series of workshops are scheduled for June to go over all the numbers.