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franklin county times

Council raises taxes, but not as much as once expected

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
Sept. 19, 2001
Meridian residents will pay more in taxes next year, but not as much as originally expected.
The Meridian City Council unanimously approved a $75 million budget Tuesday night for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1. The budget raises property taxes 4.7 percent, down from a 5 percent increase city leaders originally proposed.
City officials said they could not provide examples on Tuesday showing how much money owners of homes and vehicles will pay in property taxes under the tax increase.
Previously, city leaders said that a 5 percent property tax increase would have raised taxes $12.50 on a $50,000 home and $25 on a $100,000 home.
City Council President George Thomas, who represents Ward 1, said the council will re-examine the budget in the future and recommend trimming some city expenses.
Thomas said that any recommendations would likely come from possible cost-saving measures discussed at the city's public hearing on the budget, such as closing police precincts, stopping employees from taking city vehicles home and using one company for city pagers and cell phones.
He said the city budget eliminates 21 unfilled positions, as recommended by city administrators. The budget does not eliminate any current personnel and does not include pay raises for city workers.
Thomas said city employees could expect a raise later in the year if the council can cut enough expenses and if sales tax revenues increase.
Ward 5 Councilman Bobby Smith stressed the importance of providing raises for police officers and firefighters in light of last week's terrorist attacks.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3275, or e-mail her at sblackmon@themeridianstar.com.

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