City Councilor Talks About Proposed 3.6 Percent Budget Increase
At the Wednesday Budget Committee of the Whole meeting at the city council chambers, Mayor John Engen proposed a 3.6 percent overall increase in property taxes to cover the cost of city government.
Ward Four’s Jesse Ramos appeared on the KGVO Talk Back show on Thursday, saying his prediction about the budget was accurate.
“I made a prediction, being a bit of a soothsayer, and what’s going to happen is you’re going to see a large shift into the special districts and ultimately you’re going to see a reduction in the number of police officers that are going to be added to the budget,” said Ramos, who said the mayor and city council are restrained in the budget because of a state statute that limits the amount of mils that a city can levy.
“They’ve been hammering the state legislature for a long time on this, so it’s not very secretive that this a ploy for a general local option sales tax,” he said. “They’re going to be fighting hard for that. The mayor discussed it heavily in depth yesterday and many of my fellow council members did discuss the possibility of a local option sales tax.”
Local option sales taxes are primarily for resort communities, and Missoula does not quality for that specific kind of tax, since a majority of the city’s income is not dependent on travel.
Ramos also inferred that he was personally opposed to the upcoming Open Space levy hat will appear on the November general election ballot.
“The more open space we have, the more money is taken off the tax rolls,” he said. “People have to realize when they go vote in November that the more money we take off the tax rolls by buying open space, the more the burden that everybody else is going to have to pick up in addition to driving up land costs because you’re making land more valuable and more scarce.”
Hear the entire Talk Back episode with City Councilor Jesse Ramos on the KGVO Facebook page.