Last night the Corvallis Budget Commission Meeting resulted in a unanimous vote to begin the process to present a Tax Levy to the Voters of the City of Corvallis.
The vote may have been unanimous but the idea of presenting a new Tax Levy to voters had many on the City Council and Budget Commission openly questioning the practicality of asking for more money from already stressed homeowners instead of first looking to present some cuts from current City expenditures.
Public testimony from corvallis residents lasted nearly 90 minutes with the preponderance of comments being in favor of a Tax Levy. Per comments from Corvallis City Manager Jon Nelson, "we were listening to the choir."
The estimated $3.1 million dollar shortfall is only part of the story. City budgets have been growing by approximately 6% per year over the last decade. Just thinking here, Inflation has been tame over the same period, so why 6% growth in expenditures?
The real 800 pound gorilla in the room is the fact that the current budget deficit is only the beginning for the City of Corvallis. The "fix" needs to be for the long term and include looking towards reducing the rate of increase in fixed costs.
Resident Lee McColley was the first speaker to state that he was against any Tax Levy. McColley presented a cogent argument to first look to reduce current expenditures prior to seeking more taxes.
City Council was represented by all except Trish Daniels and David Hamby, both leaving City Council at the end of 2010. Citizen members of the Budget Commission include Rich Carone, Barbara Bull, Barbara Ross, Curtis Wright, Laurie Mason, Elizabeth French, John Davis, Karyle Butcher and is Chaired by Jacque Schreck.
Much needs to be resolved prior to presenting any Tax Levy to Corvallis voters in May 2011.
There is a meeting scheduled for January 4, 2011 at the Corvallis Fire Station, 400 NW. Harrison at 7 pm to work through the next step in the process.