Former City Council member Terry Christiansen wants the city to keep a tight budget next year and not raise the property tax rate. He was one of only two people to testify Monday night on next year's city budget.
The $43 million 2009 city budget includes a one percent hike in the property tax rate.
Christiansen told the City Council’s budget hearing “This may not be the time to be looking for a one percent increase. Not everyone has a house on the water.”
He added “It’s not always necessary to increase spending. You can go the other way.” And, he urged the Council and Mayor to look for every way to save a dollar. “Just a plea for the ordinary tax-paying folks around town.”
Mayor Dean Maxwell told the Council that the city will not move forward now on planning the west end of a new Guemes Channel pedestrian-bike trail. The budget includes $250,000 for trail planning, but Maxwell said he wants to hold off until he gets a firm commitment from Washington State Ferries. And, he said WSF is one of those agencies without funds right now.
Maxwell also announced that the city will hold off with budgeted improvements to the city’s water treatment plant for the time being. He said the city’s bond council suggested money is too tight now to float a bond.
Only one other person testified during the public hearing. Cliff Fairhoff asked the Council for $1,000 to rent a tent for a series of free concerts next summer at Cap Sante Boat Haven. Fairhoff organized a series of concerts last summer for the Snohomish Artists Guild and said he has scheduled five more next summer.
Also at Monday night’s City Council meeting, the Council approved a $95,000 contract to re-roof the Depot Arts Center building. The Depot, built in 1910, is on both the federal and state historic buildings lists. The new roof, according to Parks and Recreation Director Gary Robinson, will be close in appearance to the original roof.
Council member Brian Geer said “This is a piece of Anacortes that we need to keep.”