City proposes 2 percent tax hike - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

City proposes 2 percent tax hike

Plan could be adopted Tuesday

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Posted: Monday, September 3, 2012 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - Ask and you shall receive.

The finance department is proposing a fiscal year 2013 budget with a 2 percent property tax increase - not 3 percent - just as the City Council requested last month as staff prepared the $73 million financial plan.

The 2 percent increase equals $337,946 for the city.

At a budget workshop in August, the first draft of the plan called for a 3 percent increase, equaling $506,905. But the City Council said it didn't want to ask for the full 3 percent, in part because of the recession, and asked the finance department to come back with a plan capped at the 2 percent mark.

The council did approve a $73.6 million high-water budget proposed at the meeting. The high-water mark is essentially the budget's first draft, and the amount is what the city can't exceed when it officially adopts the plan at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Community Room of the public library.

The newer draft trims around $1 million from the high-water version.

Besides the property tax reduction, the draft took away the 3 percent cost of living increases for the city's 350 full-time equivalent positions.

Negotiations are still ongoing with the three bargaining agencies, City Finance Director Troy Tymesen said, but two of the three have verbally agreed to take a 0 percent increase.

"The COLA is verbally worked out with Fire and (Lake City Employee Association), however it has not been inked," Tymesen said in an email. "Negotiations continue with the Police Association. So my answer would be 'it is still in process.'"

Merit pay increases are a part of the plan. Merit pay - which employees earn while reaching performance and time thresholds with the city - equal $230,167.

A 0 percent raise would save $647,459. The city also dropped around $50,000 between the building and recreation departments' service and supplies amounts.

Municipalities are allowed by state code to ask for up to a 3 percent increase in the property tax total amount from the year before. The requested total doesn't represent a straight 3 percent increase for property owners on their bills; rather the total affects levy rates, which, along with homeowners' exemptions, determine tax bills.

The 2 percent property tax increase would break down to $6.76 per $1,000 in net taxable value. With decreased valuations across the county, levy rates rise.

Using that formula, Tymesen said a 2 percent increase on a $200,000 home, using the homeowner's exemption, the property taxes would increase $94, or $7.83 a month.

The city has roughly $2.5 million in foregone taxes available.

Those are essentially untapped taxes the city could have collected but didn't - though still could.

In 2011, the city took 0 percent property tax increase. In 2010, it took 1.5 percent and in 2009 it took 0 percent, averaging a 0.87 percent bump over the last four years.

It's also the third time in the last four years the city's three bargaining agencies have opened up their contracts to negotiate their COLA amounts as a way to the help the city's budget.

Last year, employees got the full 3 percent, but the year before it was 1 percent, and the year before it was 0.

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  • exclamation posted at 5:36 am on Thu, Sep 6, 2012.

    exclamation Posts: 56

    Lolz since 2000 thats a good on...

  • LTRLTR posted at 5:02 pm on Wed, Sep 5, 2012.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    Humanist is trying to convince our citizens that communities would not experience growth without urban renewal dollars.

    I have lived in this area since 1969 and growth has happened in leaps and bounds without urban renewal dollars. Any community that is as beautiful as ours will always continue to grow at least 3% each year.

  • Humanist posted at 3:29 pm on Wed, Sep 5, 2012.

    Humanist Posts: 3208

    Sure, SOME development may occur within that district in that same time-frame and cause property values to increase SOME, but there's no way that it would be to the same extent as the very focused reinvestment efforts of a URD. I personally find your view that it's simply a URD taking "redirected tax dollars" extremely narrow.

    URD's do have some downsides, as you've pointed out, but their overall long-term benefit to the community far outweighs those downsides. And to attempt to equate a city-wide tax increase as being necessary because of "siphoning" due to a URD is simply factually inaccurate.

  • Always Curious posted at 2:21 pm on Wed, Sep 5, 2012.

    Always Curious Posts: 516

    That is skewed and inaccurate. Your understanding of URDs is narrow focused. The incremental tax is money that would go to the tax coffers for distribution instead of to LCDC. To claim that ALL development in the URD is because of the URD is wrong.

    Any area would show an increase in value and therefore taxes when you dump millions into it. And once again you totally ignore the ingreased cost of services issue, a cost that must be compensated for by things like tax increases.

    You are not getting the whole picture in focus, just the narrow little area that seems to support your misinformation attempts.

    So tell us a another story and explain TAX NEUTRAL, google it, research it, whatever and you will find that it doesn't exist. Using the URDs website FAQ for for your information will leave you with little fact and lots of fluff.

  • Humanist posted at 12:54 pm on Wed, Sep 5, 2012.

    Humanist Posts: 3208

    You're not getting how URD's work in the State of Idaho. There is no "siphoning". The URD ONLY gets the taxes based on the INCREMENTAL TAX VALUE that are raised as the direct result of that URD district. If the assessed value does not rise in that district, the URD gets zero dollars. All the while the City still receives taxes on the base assessment.

  • Always Curious posted at 11:57 am on Wed, Sep 5, 2012.

    Always Curious Posts: 516

    The same could be said for ANY area of the county when you misdirect millions of tax dollars. The tax increase wouldn't be necessary if the taxes weren't siphoned off for special interst projects that benefit a minority of citizens but line the pockets of a very few.

  • Humanist posted at 10:10 am on Wed, Sep 5, 2012.

    Humanist Posts: 3208

    Correct. There is no way the same level of growth within the URD would have occurred in that same time-frame without the URD. I have lived in the area since 2000.

  • Humanist posted at 10:07 am on Wed, Sep 5, 2012.

    Humanist Posts: 3208

    I am simply a concerned citizen who has actually taken the time to educate himself on these topics. You can do the same thing. The information is available.

  • Humanist posted at 10:06 am on Wed, Sep 5, 2012.

    Humanist Posts: 3208

    Yes, without LCDC and the improvements, there would be no increment. Or there would be a very, very reduced property value increase versus with the district. In fact, without the improvements due to he district, the property values in the district most likely would have fallen since the base was set in 1997. You are wildly speculating that the same increase in property values, and corresponding taxes, would have happened without LCDC. There's no way that the same level of investment would have been made entirely through the private sector.

  • chouli posted at 8:13 am on Wed, Sep 5, 2012.

    chouli Posts: 1294

    nope, bionic man, you're confusing me someone else.
    I supported the recall efforts and don't thin a mega makeover is necessary or prudent for McEuen. It couls use some repairs and maintenance, but I like it just as it is--with beautiful mature trees (that have a wonderful fragrance in the summer) and open green grass areas. Less is more when it comes to city parks.

    I don't hold grudges, bionic, we probably agree on more things than we do not agree on. I think the whole rogue personality thing gets the best of us sometimes.

  • ProIdaho posted at 10:33 pm on Tue, Sep 4, 2012.

    ProIdaho Posts: 263

    Excuse me Humanist, but you are WRONG. My family owns property in the LCDC district and we pay roughly 4 times the property tax that we were paying in 1997. We in fact have TWO tax bills: one that goes to the city (which has been essentially frozen at 1997 levels) and one that goes to the LCDC (that include all of the yearly increases in property value since 1997).

    Are attempting to say that without LCDC that these improvements would not have been made and the corresponding increases in property tax not materialize?

    That would mean that all of the property tax increases that all homeowner's in Cd'A pay since 1997 are because of a URD? Taxes go up because this area is a desireable place to live and growth here is inevitable. Those tax increases YOU attribute to the URD would have happened whether it existed or not, the only difference is that all of the tax would have benfited the entire city budget and the spending of that tax money would be under the control of ELECTED officials.

  • AnonymousCda posted at 8:28 pm on Tue, Sep 4, 2012.

    AnonymousCda Posts: 349

    Higher Growth in population an housing, Higher taxes. Wait until the School number come out after this the first week of school. Need a new High School, new junior High, most likely two or three new elementary schools in the county area.

  • LTRLTR posted at 8:18 pm on Tue, Sep 4, 2012.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171


    Are you trying to convince citizens that growth would not happen without urban renewal?

    May I ask how many years you have lived in the area?

  • concernedcitizen posted at 7:09 pm on Tue, Sep 4, 2012.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530


    You sound to much like mikey himself or some other stakeholder. I do not care what you say. You are to connected

  • Humanist posted at 6:25 pm on Tue, Sep 4, 2012.

    Humanist Posts: 3208

    Your thinking that it's a diversion of taxes is incorrect. If the district did not exist, the taxes going to the City now would be based on the same relative property values as they were when the district began. And the City is currently still getting the taxes for that base amount. The tax increment would not exist without the formation of the district, the improvements made in the district, the increased property values within that district and the corresponding incremental tax, and finally the reinvestment of that incremental tax in the district. That' the entire premise of URD's. At the end of the life of the district, the City will then get a windfall of ALL of the taxes, the base plus the increment. All because of the URD.

  • bionic man posted at 6:20 pm on Tue, Sep 4, 2012.

    bionic man Posts: 347

    chouli, correct me if I'm wrong, but in some of your past posts, I thought you were all for the park project?????????? now you all are seeing the true spots of the mayor and her hired 3. Get used to it, as long as they are in office, the taxes will continue to rise. pure and simple, north idaho has the biggest spending on the backs of the taxpayers. there is no such thing as cutting back, it's just spend, spend, spend. 30% of the state, county and city jobs could be cut if people would just do their job. but you have to have assistants to assistants, plus secretaries for all of them......80% of their time is either spent on the internet or talking with their family on the phone. want to spend some good taxpayer dollars,,,,,hire an investigator to see what employees do on the computer. fire all of them that do any personal business on taxpayer dollars.

  • ProIdaho posted at 6:01 pm on Tue, Sep 4, 2012.

    ProIdaho Posts: 263

    RE: page 9 of the fiscal statement for 2011......"tax increment revenue for 2011: $5,719,991"

    That means 5.7 million dollars in property taxes collected for LCDC that SHOULD have gone into the general fund for the city of Cd'a thereby negating any need for a property tax increase.

  • Gingerman posted at 5:27 pm on Tue, Sep 4, 2012.

    Gingerman Posts: 5

    Well Said!

  • chouli posted at 4:52 pm on Tue, Sep 4, 2012.

    chouli Posts: 1294

    I find it insulting that in the current economy the City has the nerve to continue with a remodel of McEuen Park just because they can. It will be a constant reminder every time I walk or drive by it (every day) to see it torn up just so the City can have a new park a la LCDC. To most people, that isn't even a remote priority.

    Taxes continue to increase every year. The valuation of your home has decreased, so the tax rate has increased to make up for the lost value to keep your tax dollars rolling in. Just wait until your home increases in valuation you think the rate will ever be decreased? Not likely.

    School bonds, levies, increases to the city budget, etc, etc...when does it end?? The school district will be back again next year asking for another levy "for the children"...and we are the ignorant ogres when we say no more.

    How about requiring a zero increase to all budgets. If you want a pay raise for your employees, that's fine, but find the money in your existing budget by cutting something else out. That's the way to give a raise, not on the backs of the tax payers.

    City council, please consider the request to decline the current budget proposed and set an example of ZERO increases. Require cuts to enable any pay raises.

  • Humanist posted at 4:44 pm on Tue, Sep 4, 2012.

    Humanist Posts: 3208

    Do you have references that show that is the case?

  • ProIdaho posted at 2:52 pm on Tue, Sep 4, 2012.

    ProIdaho Posts: 263

    To everyone that said the Recall supporters had no grounds for a about this!
    I can remember the Mayor time and time again saying the Mc Euen project will not increase taxes, but this tax hike is a direct result of the property taxes taken by LCDC.

  • Gingerman posted at 1:04 pm on Tue, Sep 4, 2012.

    Gingerman Posts: 5

    This is simply not acceptable. More tax's? Neither my wife or me have seen a pay increase in 4 years. And we work hard. But everything keeps going up and up. Given the state of the economy they should not be considering any pay increase. My monthly mortgage payment has gone up nearly 100 dollars in the past two years because of CDA's tax's.

    We need a system where ta'x need a majority voter approval!

  • DeNiles posted at 9:34 am on Tue, Sep 4, 2012.

    DeNiles Posts: 2450

    Myers...... Now that was funny. Most of the city council is sitting around waiting to be 'told' how they feel about the proposal. Then they will do - what they're told to do.

  • Betrayer of Hope posted at 9:05 am on Tue, Sep 4, 2012.

    Betrayer of Hope Posts: 135

    How about at least a 2-3 percent DECREASE in taxes, because of the recession.

  • chouli posted at 8:30 am on Tue, Sep 4, 2012.

    chouli Posts: 1294

    Everyone administrator who sets their departments budgets need to get a reality check.
    NO to any increases in any department. I read where our police now have body cameras to add to their list of toys. The last time I checked, we aren't in downtown Detroit and don't have the 'need' for the extras here in CDA. I know the CDA PD is the sacred cow and havs to get more, more, more but it needs to end!

    Plz City Council, deny this budget!
    Send it back with a ZERO tolerance for any increases.
    The citizen tax payers have had enough. Everyone wants increases to their budgets and raises etc...but the taxpayers can't afford it and don't want to pay for any increases.

    Remember the mayor saying no tax increases?? Just smoke and mirrors...

    Time to get real.
    The directive is to have NO increases in budgets and NO increases in taxes.

  • SamuelStanding posted at 7:44 am on Tue, Sep 4, 2012.

    SamuelStanding Posts: 608

    $32 million for school levy, $14.1 million for FIRST PHASE of McEuen bookend to CDA Resort Wow! I have not seen an increase in my revenue! Where do you administrators think we (the public) are keeping all of this EXTRA money? Enough! We need to get rid of the Administration who thinks they have access to our bank accounts. I have a family to raise and a business I am trying to make work, and these "LEADERS" are forcing hardships for us all!

  • concernedcitizen posted at 6:04 am on Tue, Sep 4, 2012.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530

    Of course they ask for a tax hike. Someone has to pay for the shortfall caused by McEuen and this administration.

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