Clinton May Cut More From Balanced Budget To Lower Taxes - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Clinton May Cut More From Balanced Budget To Lower Taxes

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Clinton city leaders say the budget is balanced headed into the 2015 fiscal year but some council members want to cut the budget anyway.

Some city leaders want to offer Clinton residents a $.27 reduction in property taxes. on average, this is a saving of $13.27 annually. 

But, in order to offer this property tax decrease, the city would need to find $260,161 to cut from its budget. Anita Dalton, Clinton's Finance Director, says the police department could lose more than $93-thousand and the fire department would face about $75-thousand dollars in revenue loss.

So, the question is -- is $13.27 in property tax savings worth massive cuts to public safety?

Clinton Mayor Mark Vulich says it's not very often that a city can offer it's residents a tax decrease, so, the idea sounds appealing.

"It sounds good," said Mayor Vulich. "I just have a concern about how it actually impacts services and public safety?"

Vulich says much of the money that Clinton's police and fire departments would be giving up comes from personnel. So, while council members have the final vote, residents need to think about what they want, too.

"Do they want to save $13," asked Vulich, "do they want to lose two firemen and two police officers?"

It's a budget problem most cities try and avoid if they can and, truth be told, Clinton doesn't have to make any cuts.

"The budget was balanced," said Vulich. "We weren't coming in saying we had a shortfall we needed to make up."

So, if Clinton officials aren't dealing with a budget shortfall, why the need for $260,000 in cuts? Mayor Vulich says campaign promises are at the heart of the issue --

"Several of the new council people, they actually campaigned on no new taxes or lowering property taxes."

And just like city council, tentatively voting for the budget cuts 4-3 on Monday night, residents are divided.

"We're taxed pretty heavily in this town," said resident, Eric Clausen. "I would favor any type of tax relief."

Other residents, like Andy Haan, disagree --

"I would gladly pay an extra dollar a month rather than lose firefighting and police."

A decision has to be made by the March 17, when the final budget is submitted.


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