Tax issue splits Mesa town hall - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Tax issue splits Mesa town hall

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Posted: Wednesday, February 8, 2006 5:31 am | Updated: 4:50 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Mesa’s first town hall about the city’s financial woes drew a crowd Tuesday that couldn’t agree on whether voters should approve a property tax.

About 50 people, including a good number of city employees, attended the first of six town halls that started with a budget presentation by new City Manager Chris Brady.

Residents were asked to rank city services and programs on a worksheet. Brady said the information will be shared with the City Council as it prepares next year’s budget, which is facing a $25 million shortfall if both the property tax and sales tax increase measures fail.

Mesa voters will be asked May 16 to approve a primary property tax — at a cost of about $250 per year on a home assessed at $250,000 — and sales tax rate increase to 1.75 percent.

Lauren Cluff, one of nine residents who spoke, said her family has benefited from city’s swim programs and arts classes.

“Month to month, it would not cost us a lot of money,” Cluff said. “To me it’s worth it.”

Matt Tolman said he was disappointed with the attitude of city department heads during the meetings of the Mesa 2025: Financing the Future committee, which last year recommended the property tax and sales tax increase.

“Other than the courts department, all I heard was ‘We need more money,’ ” Tolman said.

Brady — who held similar meetings while working in San Antonio — said Mesa homeowners pay less to their city each year compared with other large Valley cities, including property tax, sales tax and utility rates, and the city faces many of the same rising costs affecting cities around the country.

This is the first time for district meetings and the earliest start to the budget process. Last year, the city held two meetings in May to let the public comment on the budget.

Future meetings

All meetings start at 6 p.m. 6:30 p.m. Budget presentation and public comment

Today: Augusta Ranch Elementary School, 9430 E. Neville Ave.

Thursday: Dobson Ranch Library, 2425 S. Dobson Road

Monday: Bush Elementary School, 4925 E. Ingram St.

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