Last night, City Council worked overtime to pass legislation placing a proposed income tax increase on the ballot in the May 6th primary. Nevertheless, all of City Council was not convinced it was a good, or even feasible, measure.
Yesterday’s special meeting was called specifically to pass this legislation (Ordinance 2014-01 and Ordinance 2014-02) so that it could be submitted to the Board of Elections on time. It was necessary for Council to suspend the rules (requiring a piece of legislation be read publicly three time) so that they could vote on it immediately. However, the legislation almost did not make it to a vote when Councilmen Cefaratti and and Brownlee voted “no” on suspending the rules.
Discussion was then brought forward on the motion. “I have not found anywhere near enough support behind [this levy],” stated Councilman Brownlee of District 5. “And judging by how the previous levy in November was voted down 3 to 1…I would have to say that I see no reason to move it farther than this.”
In response, Councilman Adams stated that his residents do not forsee this levy passing, but, “If they are against it, vote accordingly. If they are for it, vote accordingly. We should not make that decision for them.”
Mayor Lansky eventually weighed in saying, “That is not even a good argument to say people voted down the other levy and they spoke…How do you know they are not going to vote for this levy?” He also said that this is only the beginning of requests for new taxes, stating, “In the fall, we are going to come right back with a street lighting levy.”
Eventually, Councilwoman Jones suggested a motion to reconsider the vote to suspend the rules. Adams then made the motion with a second from Jones, and the vote was retaken. This time only Councilman Brownlee voted no, bringing the tax levy to a vote. It was then approved 5-2, with Councilmen Cefaratti and Brownlee voting no. Councilmembers Adams, Jones, Jackson, Trojanski and Agee decided, at the Mayor’s request, to be co-sponsors of this legislation.
Now the issue will be sent to the Board of Elections to be on the May 6th ballot. Residents will then have the chance to vote for or against the income tax.