JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
The Jefferson City Council voted to keep its property tax rate the same Thursday for the 2023 fiscal year after a council member asked to lower the mayor's proposed rate.
Ward Three Councilman Scott Spencer wanted to discuss lowering the property tax rate. He said he felt it would be fair to the taxpayers but later acknowledged this might not best year to lower it.
"We must continue to work through, thoroughly in ways and opportunities to cut taxes and to put money back in the tax payers possession. I want to make my intentions clear if I am re-elected, my commitment will be to pursue this issue earlier to have a broader approach to discussions and possible solutions," Spencer said.
Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tegin proposed the rate stay the same at $0.46 for every $100 of property value during a council meeting Monday. Money generated from the property tax goes to the general fund.
Tergin said lowering the rate could cause the city to let go of some employees, which would limit some services to the public. Spencer said taxpayers deserve a conversation about lowering the rate.
One reason Spencer felt this might not be the best year to change the rate is that if the council takes a voluntary property tax rate reduction this year for the 2023 fiscal year, there is no telling if council could raise the rate to back where it is currently at. It is also not clear how low the rate would drop.
Spencer said although the uncertainty about if the council could raise it back was his reason for changing his mind, he doesn't believe it should be the "sole purpose" the council won't lower the property rate in the future.
Tergin responded it isn't the sole purpose, and there are other factors, like some staff positions getting cut.
"Part of the reason or part of your proposal with savings was to reduce staff positions and I was concerned that that would also reduce services to the citizens, so I want to make it clear to anyone that missed the Monday night meeting that that was not the sole purpose," Tergin said.
City officials said Monday that if the rate is lowered there is no guarantee it could ever return to the same rate, prompting more concerns from Tergin.
Check back for updates to this developing story.