Orchard City continues search for revenue ideas
By Hank Lohmeyer
Published Thursday, February 16, 2017 10:24 am
Orchard City Mayor Ken Volgamore and some of the town board members expressed disappointment that a room full of constituents left immediately following the previous week's community meeting on government revenue and marijuana.
"It was very interesting," Volgamore said during the town board's regular meeting on Feb. 8, "that after we went over the three items, especially the marijuana, that all but four [of the 70 people] got up and left. None of them cared about how we were going to [fix the revenue problem]. The public seemed to care about the problem, but not about ways to solve it," the mayor observed.
Following the public's departure from the Feb. 1 town meeting, trustees stayed to continue working on ideas about a new water rate schedule for the town, one of the revenue boosting ideas that is presently on its way toward implementation.
The two members of the trustee water committee, Dick Kirkpatrick and Bob Eckels, will meet and develop rate proposals to be discussed with other board members at the upcoming March 1 work session. That work session begins at 7 p.m. at town hall and is open to the public.
Volgamore also announced that he had asked county assessor Lisa Tafoya to make a presentation at the work session on the general topic of taxes: another government revenue boosting measure that trustees see as necessary to raise money for roads. Any tax proposal, whether for a sales tax or a property tax, would have to be submitted to the voters for approval.
Possible tax sources for money to operate town government are seen as limited. Volgamore said, "It would not be a big pay check [for the town], but it would help."
Orchard City does not have a large retail business base, and at previous meetings trustees have estimated the annual income from a town sales tax to be in the $100,000 per year range. Property tax revenues would be limited because of the large amount of agricultural property in the town and the number of residential properties that qualify for the state's property tax "homestead exception," noted trustees during their Feb. 8 discussion.