On December 10th, Councilmember Peter Abbarno made a motion to give back the 1% property tax levy increase to local community organizations. The motion passed unanimously. The full Council Meeting can be seen at City of Centralia Council Page.
I was opposed to increasing the property tax levy in the first place and was very disappointed to see taxes increase in the City of Centralia. The City Council approved a $139 million biennial balanced budget that preserves and increases reserves. Any increase in taxes or fees was unnecessary, but I could not procedurally rescind it outright.
The Motion added to funds in the “Community Projects” line item and allows local community organizations to apply for the funding. Last year, Reliable Enterprises received the funds for a Rent Well Program.
The line item is used to support the Lewis County Seniors, Severe Weather Shelter, and other organizations that give back.
At the same meeting on December 10th, the City Council approved a budget amendment that increased the budget by almost $5 million. The Centralia City Staff Recommended no increase in the property tax levy.
We, as a City Council, have the choice of higher taxes and bigger government or lower taxes and efficient government. I agreed with the city staff recommendation that no tax increase was necessary. I wanted to give the money back to the taxpayers through non-profit organizations that can stretch dollars much farther and spend dollars much better than government.