Cd'A council approves budget - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Cd'A council approves budget

Unanimous vote clears way for 1.5 percent tax increase for 2010-11

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Posted: Wednesday, September 8, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 9:51 am, Fri Nov 16, 2012.

COEUR d'ALENE - Residents can expect a tax bump and maintained city services in the upcoming fiscal year.

The Coeur d'Alene City Council voted 5-0 on Tuesday night to approve a 1.5 percent property tax increase for the 2010-11 fiscal year, along with a $77,913,463 budget.

"I know it's tough, and it's tough for me and all of us because we're going to get yelled at," said council member Deanna Goodlander, before the vote in the community room of the Coeur d'Alene Public Library. "But you've got to do what's right. And I feel this is right."

Council member Al Hassell said the only alternative to the tax increase would be city layoffs.

"That makes a recession worse in Coeur d'Alene, not better," he said. "We're doing our best to maintain services."

The new budget is roughly $4 million higher than the current fiscal year's budget of $73,729,137, said Finance Director Troy Tymesen.

"A great question is, why during these economic times would we grow the budget?" Tymesen said.

He explained there are federal funds available now that the city has been prepared to take advantage of.

That includes funding help for multiple improvements on Government Way, including paving for five lanes from Dalton to Hanley and Hanley to Prairie.

Curbing and paving would also be done for 15th Street, from Margaret to Dalton.

Of the $7.5 million in improvements, Tymesen said, the city will only pay for $300,000, all from impact fees.

"We did not see this happening now, but we have moved it forward," he said.

The 1.5 percent tax increase is expected to bring in $237,675, which will go toward new library books, a copy machine for city hall, three new police vehicles and new police radios.

Tymesen pointed out that all the expenditures are overdue.

When council member Ron Edinger asked what could be dropped if the council only raised taxes 1 percent, Tymesen said the city would have to pass on new police vehicles, which are not mandated.

"We could run with police cars that have 80,000 miles and don't work real well," he said, adding that the city hasn't purchased new police cars in two years.

In an overview of the city's financial status, Tymesen said that Coeur d'Alene is expecting $468,906 from new growth.

Building permit revenue is expected to decrease $289,000, however, and state revenues will plummet $155,749.

The city will have no income from annexation fees, which Tymesen was optimistic about.

"Annexation fees are not an ongoing source of income," he said. "We need to get away from using one-time money to pay for ongoing expenses."

Even without a tax increase, he said, the levy rate would still rise above the current level of 4.92 percent because the city's overall assessed valuation is forecasted to drop 15 percent.

With the tax hike, the levy will rise to 5.03 percent.

The city has been restructuring to save money, Tymesen said.

The municipality has dropped 10 staffing positions in the last two years by not replacing employees who retired, he said. There are also five police positions funded by grants.

The personnel restructuring has saved $642,651, he said.

"We did whittle and whittle and whittle at services," Tymesen added, pointing to the $33,907 saved in services. "Travel and training is down to an absolute minimum."

Five city residents gave testimony decrying the tax increase, some wondering why money couldn't be taken out of the city's $4 million fund balance.

"I am a person who works with people with needs - homeless, people in need of assistance to buy food for their tables," said Earl Kondle, a volunteer for various nonprofits. "This 1.5 percent tax increase isn't going to hurt me, but it will hurt them. The people on the fringe."

Dan Gookin also worried that the tax increase would deter small businesses from relocating to the city.

Tymesen replied that the city partners with St. Vincent de Paul to provide services for the homeless at the HELP Center. Coeur d'Alene's amenities maintain its appeal for businesses, he added.

He and the council members also said the fund balance must remain full to act as a rainy day account.

Council member Woody McEvers was absent from Tuesday's meeting.

The city's new fiscal year begins on Oct. 1.

Council member Mike Kennedy said that despite citizens' complaints of the tax increase, he hasn't heard any demands to cut services.

"It's the price of democracy in some ways," he said. "Just because we're in a recession doesn't mean we have to stop living. And we need to figure out a way to do that right."

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Welcome to the discussion.

16 comments:

  • Mary Souza posted at 6:43 pm on Wed, Sep 8, 2010.

    Mary Souza Posts: 784

    I love your closing line, Finney, "Once your fat hand was in the cookie jar, YOU STOLE THE WHOLE JAR."

    You are so right, of course. But the City Council and Mayor are very good at ignoring the public. The only thing they are better at is insulting the public.

     
  • Finney posted at 5:49 pm on Wed, Sep 8, 2010.

    Finney Posts: 10

    OK I will say it... RECALL!!! RECALL!! RECALL!!
    How is it we pay union wages in a state that voted for the right to work? BOOTEM. C'mon folks they are breaking our backs here. It's ok in the councils opinion, to allow the good people of Cda to work for a average wage of $9.15 per hour. I know it costs at the very least $14.68 per hour to live here on your own. Enjoy your positions Council members and Mayor, we can, and have , and will, effect our own city govt. We have the power of recall and vote challenge. No one in their right mind would EVER vote for you again! I hope you all dont mind me shredding the Roberts rules of orders, because you dont follow them. we put you there to represent US, that is the real working class of our town. I have seen Mining, logging, manufacturing, agriculture, ALL DISSAPEAR. I am so steamed at your callouse attitude towards the people that put you in office. Once your fat hand was in the cookie jar, YOU STOLE THE WHOLE JAR.

     
  • COG777 posted at 4:48 pm on Wed, Sep 8, 2010.

    COG777 Posts: 338

    So how much money was given to the KROC center as a gift and not a loan? Where did this money come from (of course I know the taxpayers) but what fund?

    How much money is the KROC center generating with the help of receiving tax dollars?

    Is anyone thinking recall yet????

     
  • Dan Gookin posted at 1:03 pm on Wed, Sep 8, 2010.

    Dan Gookin Posts: 671

    Uh, I ran because I'm tired of the clowns at the circus we call city hall. You can see by their comments that they're out of touch. I find the term "clowns" quite apropos. I'm sure people who've used harsher and more cruel terms to describe politicians will go all verklempt over anything I say. I'm not on this planet to please that crowd.

     
  • Randy Myers posted at 10:49 am on Wed, Sep 8, 2010.

    Randy Myers Posts: 1635

    @ Ice.....True, cold and hard as it might be.

    @ Dan Gookin....yet you wanted to be one of "the clowns." C'mon Dan, aren't you above and beyond name calling?

    @ Straight...The ones who voted aren't apathetic. try the ones who didn't vote. Dan Gookin didn't run wisely or he would have been elected. I voted for Ron over Dan. I think Dan is an excellent critic of local politics.

    2@Mary... You are on the right track. I hope you continue your role as local watchdog. Keep on writing and digging for facts !

     
  • Icecold posted at 10:22 am on Wed, Sep 8, 2010.

    Icecold Posts: 50

    People who pay taxes are dwindling and the only way to cover that loss of revenue is to raise taxes. So expect another tax hike next year.

     
  • Mary Souza posted at 9:55 am on Wed, Sep 8, 2010.

    Mary Souza Posts: 784

    Also, why in the heck do city employees get a RAISE? The local economy is not growing. The demand on most of their jobs is way down. The unemployment rate of CdA citizens is still nearly 10%. But the city doesn't care, they are ignoring the needs and opinions of the people.

    My favorite quote is, "I know it's tough, and it's tough for me and all of us because we're going to get yelled at," said council member Deanna Goodlander."

    Gosh, Deanna, do you think getting yelled at for raising taxes in a recession is as "tough" as not having a JOB to pay the mortgage and put food on the table? Well, now, with the tax increase you all voted for, citizens will have to pay more and businesses will pay an even higher rate, so FEWER JOBS will be created.

    Is this the right direction for our city? I think not.

     
  • Mary Souza posted at 9:41 am on Wed, Sep 8, 2010.

    Mary Souza Posts: 784

    Dan, you did such a good job on your recent letter to the editor, where you explained the $216,000 annexation fees that the city just WAIVED for their friends at the privately owned NIC Foundation. If the city had simply kept the regular annexation fees in place, they would not have had to raise property taxes this year!

    Here's the link to Dan's letter of 9/3/10 in this paper: http://www.cdapress.com/news/local_news/article_d09765dc-b780-11df-acd0-001cc4c03286.html

     
  • straight up posted at 9:39 am on Wed, Sep 8, 2010.

    straight up Posts: 927

    "Why do the people of this town keep re-electing the same clowns to the City Council?"

    Indeed.

    Apathy is the norm with the voters in CDA.

     
  • Dan Gookin posted at 8:43 am on Wed, Sep 8, 2010.

    Dan Gookin Posts: 671

    I gave it a shot, but I figured no one up there cares about the citizens who are struggling and the businesses that try to provide jobs. Why do the people of this town keep re-electing the same clowns to the City Council?

     
  • WannaBe JD posted at 8:32 am on Wed, Sep 8, 2010.

    WannaBe JD Posts: 110

    Is this looking out for the best interest of the people? If you are police or fire or city worker I guess.

     
  • Randy Myers posted at 8:31 am on Wed, Sep 8, 2010.

    Randy Myers Posts: 1635

    @ straight...Urban renewal is more complex than that but your point is well taken. The prioritizing of projects by LCDC shows that their investment acumen isn't the greatest. Build it and they will come hasn't worked.

     
  • Randy Myers posted at 8:29 am on Wed, Sep 8, 2010.

    Randy Myers Posts: 1635

    I'd be willing to bet MOST people would be willing to have LESS services and zero tax hike.

    @ Old Toot..Not necessarily but I dont think the police vehicles need to be brand new and have all the bells and whistles either. Lert the police drive about in cars similar to the rest or the "average' citizen.

    @ Finney ..No municipal wages should be "raised" I agree. This isn't the time. I hope you DO get involved in the political process and shake things up. Back up your words with action !

     
  • straight up posted at 7:30 am on Wed, Sep 8, 2010.

    straight up Posts: 927

    I didn't see the article mention that the City Council has cut the amount of our tax money that they slide over to LCDC to give to wealthy developers to build their condos and upscale shopping centers.

    Maybe I just missed that part.

     
  • Finney posted at 7:06 am on Wed, Sep 8, 2010.

    Finney Posts: 10

    You have GOT to be F'n KIDDING ME. Hike the taxes AND the council gets a raise? WOW!!
    FIRE ALL OF THEM!! Get it? The Council wants a pay raise to raise morale. Sheesh When do WE get a chance to boost our morale. Does the city council have the best interests of the good citizens of CDA.
    H E L L NO!! pretty soon we will be paying a shedload of money just so they can have their lofty positions.
    I say DECREASE their pay by 4% for 3 years THEN you can get a raise. So many businesses have forgone raises to their own employees, because the economy is SOOoo jacked up because you have a whole bunch of fat cat repubs pulling their money out of investments as a " No Confidence" show of non support for our president. Face it council, if you pass your raises, I will personally see to it that each and every one of you is pulled from your positions. The people of this town has had enough of your non-functioning, not for the people, rulings. You have NO PROBLEM WHAT SO EVER passing raises for your self, but cant put your position on the line. REPRESENT your districts wishes. Not your own adgendas paid for by what ever special intertests that you like. You all are doing a grave diservice to the rest of us.

     
  • Old Toot posted at 6:14 am on Wed, Sep 8, 2010.

    Old Toot Posts: 14

    Maybe the City should look into buying cars that still run good at 80,000 miles. Yah, I know, We would see the police driving Honda and Toyota cars.

     
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