Taxes on the Minds of Assembly Members

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Maggie Wall/KMXT

While the assembly spent most of the evening on the school budget question, that wasn’t the only tax and budget related action taken.

Assembly members opted to postpone a decision on increasing the severance tax until a future meeting. But, first they substituted a newer version of the ordinance that decreased the proposed rate.

The severance tax has always been linked directly to the mill rate for property taxes. As proposed the measure would break that link and would fix the rate at 1-point-25 percent of the value of the natural resources being extracted from within the borough. That 1-point-25 rate is slightly less than the original proposal. The previous figure was 1-point-5 percent of gross value.

Assembly member Louise Stutes said changing the rate at all was irresponsible until the borough got a handle on its budget figures:

-((Boro Ass Follow-Up 1 :29 "I’m going to support…our budget."))

Assembly member Sue Jeffrey had a different take on it:

-((Boro Ass Follow-Up 2 :21 "The only reason…tightly knit community."))

Jeffrey was referring to previous public testimony that the severance tax was unfair to fishermen to begin with, as well as other testimony that fishermen shouldn’t have to pay more in taxes than what everyone else pays, which is the mill rate on property taxes.

The assembly also approved in first reading an ordinance that adjusts the current year’s budget to reflect actual income and expenses. And another that sets the mill rate for property taxes for next year. Both of those ordinances will come up for public hearing at a future assembly meeting.

We’ll have more on last night’s borough assembly meeting and proposed school funding during Monday’s newscasts.

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