Tonasket Council still deciding on tax increase

TONASKET – The Tonasket City Council is still deciding on whether or not to raise property taxes by one percent for 2011.

“I would like to move we pass this ad valorem ordinance because, looking at the budget, expenses are going up,” Scott Olson, council member, said during the city council meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 9. “People passed on not increasing income taxes and I think someone has to bite the bullet to bring in revenue to balance the budget.”

Council Member Connie Maden seconded the motion, stating that too often Tonasket is caught for too long of a time without an increase and then they have to do large increases to catch up.

“If the difference of $1,000 and change is going to save our budget we have failed ourselves,” Council Member Jean Ramsey said when she voted against the motion.

With Council Member Jill Vugteveen also voting against the motion and Mayor Patrick Plumb unable to break a tie for an ordinance vote, the issue was tabled until the Tuesday, Nov. 23 meeting with the hope that the fifth council member, Julianna Griffin, will be in attendance to break the tie.

Before the Nov. 9 meeting, the council met with two of the three fire commissioners for Tonasket Fire District #4 to discuss the impending end of the contract between the city and the fire district. A general agreement was made that small increases in the cost of fire protection should be made for each reassessment period until the city is paying as much as out-of-city residents are for fire protection, but no official decisions were made. The fire commissioners are coming to the Nov. 23 meeting to discuss final numbers with the council and the final decision on this issue will be made during the Tuesday, Dec. 14 meeting.

The council completed their final hearing for the 2011 budget and stated they expect to pass the budget at the Nov. 23 meeting.

Finally, the council would like to remind everyone that anyone taking water from the RV Park who is not staying at the RV Park is stealing water. To fill water barrels, jugs or gallons, water permits must be obtained from City Hall and the water must be gotten from the city shop located near Chief Tonasket Park.