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East Point council split on proposed tax increases
by Christine Fonville
October 16, 2013 12:09 PM | 1208 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
East Point council members were divided on a proposed eight mill increase discussed at a council meeting last week.

The millage rate, which is 15, would increase to 23 if the motion carries.

According to the proposed 2014 fiscal year budget on the city’s website, taxpayers fund about 74 percent of the city’s revenue.

The 8 mill increase would raise revenue by about 50 percent.

The value of one mill in East Point is $550,000, according to Mayor Earnestine Pittman.

Budget deficits and the need to pay an unfunded pension were named as the cause for the increase.

“After 32 years of doing nothing, the city has to pay this unfunded pension,” said Pittman, who attributed the pension debt to former city council members.

Councilman Andrew Gothard and Councilwoman LaTonya Martin said they could not make a decision based on the information received by the council last Monday evening.

“I don’t want to vote on this issue yet because I would like to hear feedback from the community first,” Martin said.

Three public hearings are mandatory in order to increase taxes and the city must advertise these hearings two weeks in advance.

Councilman Myron Cook said he supported the millage increase because the city “is in dire straits.”

“This is the critical point where it has to be put up or shut up and our main, critical issues are our finances,” he said.

Cook said waiting to vote on the increase will not help residents because “the statistics aren’t going to improve, they’re only going to get worse.”

He also said that an increase to 23 mils would be less than that of 2008.

What's next? A millage rate public hearing and proposed 2014 budget second hearing are set for Monday.

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