MINER -- Property owners in Miner will pay higher taxes.
During their regular monthly meeting Tuesday, the Miner Board of Aldermen approved raising the tax levy for 2008 from 19 cents per $100 assessed valuation to the ceiling of 30 cents.
"It hasn't been raised in over 30 years," Mayor Mitch Thompson said.
"It's been a long time coming," said Deloris Smith, board member.
"It's not something we want to do," Thompson said. "It's something we need to do."
Kim Foster, board member, said the Missouri Municipal League is recommending all cities should raise their property taxes to the ceiling.
During a public hearing on the tax levy, several residents voiced their opposition to raising the rate.
"You always say you want services; services cost money," Thompson said.
Residents opposing a raise in the tax levy also asked about raising sales tax.
"We've got all the sales taxes we can do," Thompson said.
At an annual total of about $38,000, property taxes, he said, "are just providing 2 percent of the revenue for our city."
Asked by a resident how much of an effect rising fuel prices have had on the city, City Clerk Janet Tuttle said, "I don't have any numbers, but it doubled." She said the fuel budget just for the police department was $20,000.
Thompson said the Board has already implemented a policy of having city police on patrol sit for 15 minutes every hour instead of cruising in an effort to control fuel costs.
"We need to do what we can to keep what we've got," Thompson said, and "try not to cut any services."
In other business Tuesday:
* Board members approved the budget for the 2008-2009 fiscal year. The fiscal year begins Sept. 1 and runs through Aug. 31, 2009.
Revenue for the general fund is projected at $1,533,795 with budgeted expenditures from the general fund totaling $1,418,350.
Board members also approved a budget amendment for the 2007-2008 fiscal year to reflect general fund revenue of $1,768,131 and expenditures of $1,268,090.
Tuttle said there were no major adjustments with the budget amendment.
The Board also re-adopted the financial disclosure ordinance.
* With some residents still calling for a full-time fire chief, board members approved Jack Tucker as the city's part-time fire chief and Tom Wilson as assistant fire chief with a 3-2 vote.
As board members Smith and Janet Williams voted against the appointments, the tie vote was broken by the mayor.
Compensation was set at $250 per month for the chief and $100 per month for the assistant chief.
"I still think we need a full-time fire chief," Smith said.
"A position like that is going to cost money," Thompson said. He said a full-time fire chief would cost the city $50,000 per year once benefits are figured in.
Thompson said according to statistics supplied to him the city has experienced 1.5 structure fires per month. Of the 207 total fires over the last 16 months, about half were during normal business hours and 41 percent were within city limits.
* Board members directed city public works staff to gather bids on new water meters.
Thompson said the city processed 96 million gallons of water but only billed for about 36 million gallons.
Meters have a 10-year lifespan, according to a city staff member, with some meters in the city having been in service for 40 years.
Thompson said new meters could bring revenue up from water and sewer from $200,000 to $600,000 per year.