Porterdale raises taxes, lays off staff
Tax rate increased by 2 mills, employees get furlough days
Declining property values continue to hit Porterdale hard and will force the city to raise its property tax rate by 2 mills, lay off two city workers and add 12 furlough days.
The city council approved those measures at Tuesday’s called meeting to make up for less-than-expected revenues mid way through its Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 budget year.
The 2-mill increase would be a $41 tax hike on a property with an assessed value of $20,440, the average property value in Porterdale, City Clerk Judy Johnson said.
“ This increase was the last thing we wanted, but it was still necessary,” Johnson said. “ We tried to cut ourselves back as much as we could before bringing ( increases) to the citizens.”
The city had budgeted to collect $ 984,733 from its revenue streams including property taxes, traffic tickets and other fees, this year.
Laying off two employees will save the city about $ 30,000 during the remainder of the budget year. No specific positions were discussed, but council members expressed dissatisfaction at having to let anyone go.
City Manager Bob Thomson said that eventually no more cuts can be made or the city will not be able to function properly.
Councilwoman Arline Chapman agreed and said members of the community need to start giving back by volunteering, which could help to alleviate budget costs and reduce the need for cuts.
One person in attendance said that he could easily dedicate four hours of his week to working on the city’s needs, such as mowing the public grass.
“ If every citizen could take small steps like that, it helps because we are taking cuts everywhere,” Johnson said.
The 12 furlough days are projected to save the city about $ 17,000.
If revenues increase later in the year, the council will decide whether it wants to bring the positions back or reduce the number of furlough days.
Mark Hardison, the city’s auditor, gave a presentation on the 2010 budget audit, saying the city’s fund balance is not as strong as it needs to be, but it is much better than being in a deficit.
He said the city was over its budget until it made budget amendments earlier this year. According to Hardison, the city needs to fix its payroll and make some changes to water bills, after which its funds will be more balanced.