Council Shoots Down Peyton’s Tax Hike Proposal
Earlier tonight the Jacksonville City Council voted 10-9 against the Mayor's proposal to increase the property tax rate millage rate from 8.48 to 9.5 mills.
The votes to keep the millage rate the same were: Bill Bishop, Richard Clark, John Crescimbeni, Daniel Davis, Johnny Gaffney, Art Graham, Ray Holt, Glorious Johnson, Denise Lee and Clay Yarborough.
Voting to raise the tax rate were: Reggie Brown, Michael Corrigan, Ronnie Fussell, Kevin Hyde, Warren Jones, Stephen Joost, Don Redman, Art Shad and Jack Webb.
"For the long-term health of the city, this was a great step in the right direction," said Councilman Clay Yarborough.
Yarborough was the one who actually introduced the amendment to Mayor Peyton's plan in front of the Finance Committee last week, and he has drawn heavy fire from the mayor's office as a result.
"Without telling these citizens and telling this community what you're going to cut and what it's going to look like and what are the consequences I think is irresponsible," Peyton said of the council's action. "I think it's wreckless, and for that reason, I have no intention of signing this bad legislation."
But Yarborough says that keeping a lower tax will force the City Council to cut uneccessary spending.
"These are real numbers. These are real tax dollars. I think that will be the motivator to dig as deep as we can," Yarborough told local media.
If the Mayor follows through on his threat and refuses to sign the legislation, most homeowners will see their taxes increase to a "roll back" rate of 9.27. That's the rate set to counter the losses caused by falling property values and will represent a 9 percent increase rather than the 12 percent that Peyton was pushing for.
Now the Council begins the task of actually deciding where to make cuts in the budget. With an increase to 9.27 mills, the Mayor's proposed budget will still face a gap of around $12 million.