The Price City Council decided unanimously not to support the mill levy increase proposed by the Price River Water Improvement District last week. That decision came at a city council meeting on August 10.
Discussing the mill levy matter with the city council, Mayor Joe Piccolo questioned the increase proposed by Price River Water Improvement District.
The Price mayor said PRWID's plan to raise the fee to the maximum amount allowed had "critical flaws."
"A full increase to the maximum level of acceptable profit of tax all in one bound, the projected 2006 budget does not indicate prudent financial responsibility to me. I'm not so sure that I would support that," pointed out Piccolo during the council meeting.
"Another thing is the user fees haven't been discussed yet. But Betty Wheeler has made it clear to me that there will be increases in user fees after the tax is in place. Seems to me that user fees should pay for the expanded administrative services that are costing the district money. If it was project fees that would be requiring new bonds perhaps it should be a combination of user fees and property tax. It seems inappropriate to have property tax pay for expanded administrative services. There haven't been new bond responsibilities that require this tax increase," added the mayor.
Piccolo asked Wheeler if any cost avoidance or cost-cutting studies had been tried by PRWID before the board decided to increase fees.
"Near as I can tell, there is no projected 2006 budget that shows that expenditures are going to exceed revenues," commented Piccolo.
"I think that it's a lot like any budget," responded Wheeler. "They claim to cut ... they try to cut, whatever. You just have to take their word for it."
"There are ways at least to cut," noted Wheeler. "I just don't feel good about this just like the rest of them don't feel good about it. And I don't think we're going to say yea to this."
The mayor voiced concern about PRWID's proposal.
"If 50 percent of the population of Carbon County lives in Price city, I'm not certain that the budget should be dumped on the residents of our community without having some kind of cost avoidance survey done," said the mayor. "Who's using this and why shouldn't they be paying more? Why should we be paying for something that we're not getting anything out of. I think those things should be questioned. They need to get a hard lined answer before they would get support from me."
"I believe perhaps Mrs. Wheelers vote may be the deciding vote," added Piccolo later. "I would like to have some sort of a resolution or a motion so that Mrs. Wheeler as a board member for PRWID could feel convinced and supported in her decision when she has to make it. I really don't want her being out there alone making this decision without the support of the entire council."
When asked about her discomfort on voting in the matter, Wheeler responded by telling the council, "I don't feel good about it at all."
"I think you should carry it forward that Price city doesn't support this increase," said Price City Councilmember Richard Tatton. Tatton then made a motion asking that Wheeler, as a board representative, not support the tax increase proposed by PRWID.
Councilmember Jeanne McEvoy seconded the motion and it passed unanimously by the city council.
The final decision about the increase is to be made during the next PRWID meeting scheduled for tonight at 7 p.m.
Wheeler added that those concerned about the possible tax increase should attend the meeting and possibly give members of the board input on the matter.
Also discussed during the Price City Council meeting was the appointed of the new Price City Planning and Zoning chairman, Larry Bruno. Bruno was appointed after the resignation of prior chairman, John Angotti.
McEvoy, who is also a Price planning and zoning board member, commented that Bruno fit in very well and knew what he was doing during his first meeting as chairman on July 26.