Council discusses mayor's veto of tax rate decrease
By By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
Oct. 11, 2002
Meridian city councilmen met for more than an hour Thursday to discuss the city's $86 million budget and the mayor's veto of their tax rate decrease.
In the end, councilmen decided to wait until Tuesday's regular meeting to see what, if any, action they will take.
Mayor John Robert Smith is out of town, but is expected to return in time for Tuesday night's meeting.
Thursday's meeting came a day after Smith vetoed the city council's Sept. 30 decision to drop the tax rate by two mills, from 50.08 to 48.08. Smith cited an attorney general's opinion as the reason for his veto.
One mill is one-tenth of 1 cent. For each mill, a taxpayer pays $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property value.
Councilmen approved their first version of the budget on Sept. 20, rejecting a 10 percent water rate increase the mayor said was needed to protect the city's credit rating and keep the water fund in balance.
The mayor was out of town when the council acted; when he returned, he vetoed the budget.
Councilmen then approved a second version of the budget on Sept. 30, approving an 8 percent water rate increase, cutting the general fund by $800,000 and reducing the property tax rate.
Smith's latest veto, on Wednesday, means that the council must amend the budget to reflect the tax rate they originally approved 50.08 mills.
Ward 3 Councilman Barbara Henson said Thursday that she thinks the mayor will have a proposed budget amendment that he'll ask the council to act on Tuesday.
In a letter to the city council dated Oct. 9, the mayor wrote that he will ask the council to restore the $750,000 cash carry-forward and about $73,000 of the $273,000 in cuts already proposed by the council.
Thomas said it's possible the council will not take any action on Tuesday.
Thomas commented on the fact that no cuts were made to the mayor's department throughout the protracted budgeting process.