Irondale to vote on property tax increase amid calls for clarity in the financial plan
On April 10, the citizens of Irondale will vote on whether to raise the city's property tax by six mils.
It's been two decades since the city last raised the ad valorem tax. The move would nearly double the city's share of the tax , to 12.5 mils.
There is some confusion on exactly what the money will be spent on.
“One concern I have- we haven’t really- the council, me included- decided what they money’s going to be used for,” Councilman John London told ABC 33/40.
What is clear is that the city has some tough financial decisions ahead. Irondale started the year with a deficit and the closure of Sam's club added to it. It is now $1.6M short for this fiscal year and plans to use some reserve money to fill the gap.
The proposed six mil increase would mean $60 annually for a house valued at $100,000.
Councilman London says it could mean great projects, but he wants a clear plan.
“Tomorrow night, I will ask the question to the council, and I have asked before- what’s exactly are we going to use the money for?” said London. “Can we have that so the citizens can know- cause that’s the questions out there. They’re asking me all the time.”
London says if there's a clear plan for economic development and improvements to city parks, he'll support it.
"I think it can help the city of Irondale if it’s used the right way," added London.
The closure of Sam's cost the city $1.4 million annually and Irondale also had a couple large, unexpected expenses come up last year.
“It’s a very simple equation,” said Irondale Mayor Charles Moore. “If we want to move forward, we’ll vote yes for this plan and if we’re satisfied with where we are, we’ll vote no for the plan.”
Moore says this vote was planned before Sam's closure, but the loss of revenue from the giant retailer adds to the need.
Moore said there are no set projects planned for the money. He explained the new revenue would first meet needs, then be used to further the city's comprehensive plan.
“That includes things such as infrastructure, paving streets, doing infrastructure with storm water, those sorts of things, economic development was another one of those and improving and enhancing our parks and green spaces,” explained Moore.
When asked if the new revenue would be a want or a need, Moore replied, “I think it’s a need for the city. We’re certainly not talking about going on a frivolous spending spree but it is certainly needed for the city to move forward.”
London believes there's time to develop a more defined plan for the money this week with city council.