BURLINGTON — A Burlington Metropolis Council member expressed curiosity Thursday in rolling again taxes on enterprise revenue and utilities after a optimistic monetary report was mentioned at a council assembly.
Finance Director Joe Stewart mentioned the cuts to metropolis companies introduced on by the COVID-19 pandemic and months of higher-than-expected gross sales tax income means town is in a stronger place than he would have anticipated final yr.
As of the tip of Might, he mentioned town normal fund had a steadiness of about $4.3 million, and that is earlier than an anticipated $2 million in pandemic restoration help via the federal American Rescue Plan Act.
Upon listening to Stewart’s report, Council member Joe DeGloria proposed town re-evaluate tax will increase the council permitted final yr at a time when town was on extra tenuous monetary floor.
Final summer time, town carried out a 0.1% tax on enterprise income exceeding $1 million a yr, and elevated taxes on a number of utilities.
When these new taxes had been carried out, town was in tough form, however “it is fully apparent we’re not in that situation,” DeGloria mentioned.
Council member Invoice Aslett was fast to problem DeGloria, saying town’s monetary struggles these taxes had been put in place to handle predate COVID-19.
“Should you bear in mind, you and I and different council members had been frightened concerning the steadiness of expenditure and income earlier than then,” he mentioned.
Aslett urged DeGloria in opposition to having a knee-jerk response to at least one favorable monetary report, saying that kind of conduct has gotten town into bother earlier than.
Council member Scott Inexperienced mentioned having a considerable amount of reserves might assist town sort out initiatives it could not afford earlier than, and particularly talked about streets which have lengthy wanted repaving.
Stewart mentioned agreed that rolling again the taxes based mostly on this latest good monetary information will not be the most effective factor to do.
“With how unstable the final yr has been, we have to see what regular is,” he mentioned.
Earlier within the assembly, Mayor Steve Sexton and members of the council expressed concern that the Skagit County Board of Commissioners will think about a countywide 0.1% gross sales tax improve to fund inexpensive housing and homeless companies.
If the commissioners take this path, Burlington can be prohibited from implementing an analogous tax by itself. Gross sales tax income generated by the rise would go straight to the county, and Sexton mentioned the cities within the county would don’t have any authorized say over the way it’s spent.
“Now we have an excellent relationship with the county proper now, but it surely hasn’t all the time been that manner,” he mentioned.
Sexton instructed the cities go their very own tax will increase earlier than the county does, then negotiate with the county to make sure “we’ve some say over how the cash is spent.”
Burlington generates probably the most gross sales tax income of any municipality within the county. Regardless of making up about 7% of the county’s inhabitants, it generates about 35% of gross sales tax income countywide.
Aslett was one in every of a number of council members who agreed with Sexton.
Council members additionally agreed Thursday to return to in-person conferences, beginning at its subsequent assembly in July.
Since early within the pandemic, the Metropolis Council has been assembly by way of convention name.