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New Revenue For The City: To Meet The Challenge Or Not?

Recorded on: Friday, November 22, 2013
Air date: Monday, November 25, 2013

The question before City Club on November 22: Is there a place for new revenue in the city budget? If so, what are the advantages and disadvantages of a restaurant tax, a utility surcharge, and revenue based on a property tax? During 2009, the task force examined 15 possible ways to raise revenue. In January of 2010, it recommended three of them: cutting services, drawing down reserves, and new sources of revenue. Their first choice was a 5% restaurant tax, followed by a 1.5% utility surcharge, and finally a city service fee.

After considering the task force recommendations, the city chose to adopt none of them. Instead, it relied on increased efficiencies. The deficit was cut in half through efficiencies, and now stands at approximately $5.3 million. In the spring of 2013, the city council referred a city service fee to the voters, who roundly defeated it. Now, the City Budget Committee is soliciting public input on next year's budget. Its focus is on cuts rather than new revenue.

copyright, 2013 KLCC