Divided City Council gives first of two approvals to property tax rate, budget

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A divided City Council narrowly approved the first of two necessary votes on both the property tax rate and the city budget for the upcoming fiscal year that begins October 1.

Commissioners Kyle Becker and Diane Velazquez joined Mayor Joe Kilsheimer in separate 3-2 votes to approve the tax rate and spending plan on Wednesday, September 14. The final approval is set for a vote on September 28 at 5:05 p.m. at City Hall.

The new property tax rate, if approved on September 28, will mean a rate hike of a half-mill, which is equal to $50 in taxes for every $100,000 of taxable property value.

Commissioners Billie Dean and Doug Bankson voted no both times, first when the property tax rate of 3.7876 mills was approved, then when the $104 million budget was given the OK.

Things got a bit testy late in the meeting after Commissioner Velazquez said she was “disappointed” in the no votes of Dean and Bankson.

Both Dean and Bankson responded, but Mayor Kilsheimer had to gavel Dean and Velazquez down as they argued.