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Council votes to raise mill levy

Staff writer

“I don’t want to raise the mill levy anymore than you do,” Mayor Larry Larson told city council members at last night’s budget workshop. However, the council voted 4-1 to propose increasing the tax rate by 2.3 percent.

They set a public hearing on the budget for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 13 at city hall.

Council member Tom Spencer said the board couldn’t afford to raise taxes, but member Travis Wilson disagreed, saying it couldn’t afford not to.

An owner of a home valued at $100,000 might expect an increase of about $24 in annual taxes to the city of Peabody.

Spencer said raising taxes wasn’t the answer.

“Taxes would be so high I couldn’t sell my house. No one wants to move where taxes are so high,” he said.

Balancing what a resident could afford in taxes and how to provide needed public services is difficult, Larsen said.

Having no control over costs — electricity, oil, water, gas, and insurance — makes it hard to prepare the budget, Larson said.

“But we have to do what we can to support infrastructure, lifestyles and public safety,” he said.

Three full-time police officers will be keeping Peabody safe if the budget is approved. The city has one full-time officer, one officer in training and 11 part-time employees.

To keep the mill levy under 100, it was decided to re-allocate $23,000 from an economic development fund to a police line item to add a third officer to the force. The remaining $3,800 would stay in the economic development fund to be used as needed.

The mill levy would be 95.322, a small increase from last year’s amount of 93.127. The total budget is set for $409,566.

Last modified July 26, 2018

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