Woodland residents raise tax concerns

Woodland residents raise tax concerns

Posted: Tuesday, July 15, 2008 9:25 pm
By: Donna Ryder Messenger Associate Editor

By DONNA RYDER Messenger Associate Editor A handful of residents seemed to be eased of most of their concerns regarding the implementation of a property tax in Woodland Mills during a meeting Monday night. Mayor Wade Carrington explained that residents would pay 65 cents per $100 of the assessed, not the appraised, value of their homes, which is what at least one of the residents on hand thought. “We need this money for the city to function,” Carrington said of the $20,000 the property tax is expected to generate. He went on to explain that during the 2007-08 fiscal year, the general fund revenues were $56,022 but the expenses were $89,279. Most of the overage was the cost for putting a new roof on the civic center and installing a new central heat and air unit there. The $35,000 expense drew some criticism from one resident who said she didn’t think she should have to pay for something she doesn’t use. She said she thought the civic center should be self-supporting. “It’s hard for people to stomach taxes who don’t utilize it. A lot don’t utilize the civic center,” she said. Carrington informed her that the civic center does bring in revenue, but it is there as a service to the community. Another reason the mayor gave for the city needing a property tax is the ever-increasing cost for utilities, legal and accounting services, parks maintenance and gasoline, among other things. And, he said, the state-shared taxes received by the city continue to decrease. Carrington informed those on hand that when Lattus Distributing closed, the city lost around $6,000 a year in state-shared funds. Plus, the city has to keep the streets maintained. To date, the city has simply used the surplus motor vehicle fuel tax revenues to pay for paving. The majority of that revenue is used to pay for the city’s street lights. Last year, that accounted for more than $7,000. The surplus each year continues to dwindle and the cost of asphalt continues to rise. Alderman Waymon Reagan told those on hand that the city has also spent a lot of money in the sewer department repairing leaks, keeping up the lift station and regulating the flow meters. He said he hopes when all the work is complete that the city will be able to cut back on the amount it charges the citizens for sewer service, which should takes care of the amount they’ll pay in property tax. “We’re trying to do things to promote the city and keep it clean. We’ve done good to have gone this long without a tax,” Carrington added, which brought a comment from another resident who said he’s surprised it didn’t happen a couple of years ago. After lengthy discussion, the board approved the budget for 2008-09 on second reading. It includes revenues and expenses, respectively, of $71,985 and $64,090 in the general fund, $10,875 and $9,500 in the state street aid fund, $20,795 and $20,724 in the refuse collection fund (which includes the rate of $10.75 per month per residence for service) and $132,300 and $127,035 in the sewer fund. A third reading will be held at 6 p.m. Monday. In other business, after the meeting was opened in prayer by Reagan and with the Pledge of Allegiance led by Carrington, the board: • Learned from Jeff Decker that the baseball season is over. He said the Tysons of Woodland Minor League went undefeated winning both the county season and the tournament. He added the Locker Room of Woodland also won the season and finished second in the county. Decker said he is especially proud that the league was able to retain 146 of the 153 children who started playing at the beginning of the season. “We’re getting ready to go ahead next year,” he said. In related news, Decker said ballfield lights donated to Woodland Mills by the City of Union City have been installed, but have not been hooked up yet. • Was informed the city received a $2,000 grant to be used in the park system. There are several things the city would like to do with the money, two of which include resurfacing the walking track and replacing playground equipment which has been broken over the years. • Directed a businessman who recently purchased a piece of property in the city limits to bring his plans before the zoning board. The businessman wishes to be able to park four or five year 2000 or newer cars on the lot. He said he would enclose the area with a fiberglass fence. • Discussed limbs hanging over in the street. A Barker Brothers Waste driver said he keeps running into them. • Mentioned a fire hydrant which is overgrown. The maintenance personnel believe the hydrant has been turned off but will check on it. • Approved sending certified letters to two property owners who have allowed their yards to become overgrown. The city ordinance calls for grass and noxious weeds to be no taller than eight inches. These property owners have 10 days from receipt of the letter to cut the grass or the city will do it and charge the property owner. • Learned a resident wishes to dig a well in order to water his garden. Carrington said the city’s ordinances will have to be researched to see if this can be allowed. • Approved the May and June financial statements, respectively, including total assets of $9,545.03 and $9,875.21 in the street aid fund, $6,042.56 and $5,999.96 in the refuse collection fund, $564,562.74 and $552,767.33 in the sewer fund and $47,419.78 and $54,458.65 in the general fund. Alderman Mark Hayes was absent. Associate Editor Donna Ryder can be contacted by e-mail at dryder@ucmessenger.com. Published in The Messenger 7.15.08

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