City proposes Blank check property tax call

Blank check proposal for Airport, Civic Center, Zoo, Fire, Police, and Capital Improvements features no specified millage, allows for modifications without a vote


        If a resolution introduced Tuesday night is approved next month city voters will be asked to pass a new tax that could be used for just about anything.
Sound confusing? It’s probably because what was advertised as the renewal of a tax to fund the airport suddenly turned into a new tax that could fund the Civic Center, zoo, airport, capital improvements, fire department, police department, with no dedicated millage.
At Tuesday’s meeting Council Chairman Michael Echols read into the record a notice of intent which was not previously advertised.
Wednesday Echols said he had an exchange with the city attorney over the change in language and the purpose of the tax. He said the switch will be corrected when the council meets on the subject next month.
The original proposal was to consider adopting a resolution ordering and calling an election to authorize the collection of a property tax on Monroe residents. In printed notices and on the meeting’s agenda it was noted that the council would consider calling an election to authorize the continuation of a one and ten hundredths (1.010) mills property tax for the purpose of construction or enhancements of the Monroe Regional Airport and its facilities including matching funds for federal, state or other grants.
However, when the meeting commenced, Echols read into the official record a completely different notice of intent.
The new notice of intention presents a broad blanket tax proposal to be considered. It holds that the council will “discuss and consider adopting  a resolution ordering and calling an election to authorize the renewal, continuation and/or modification of existing property taxes of the City for the purpose of supporting the (i) Regional Airport, (ii) Civic Center, (iii) City Zoo, (iv) Capital Improvements, (v) Police Department, and (vi) Fire Department, and upon approval by the qualified voters therein, for such tax to be levied thereafter.”
There was no discussion on the change by council members. The only discussion on the matter was an incorrect date that was printed on the notice of intent, as the first indicated June 25 which was later corrected to July 25.
Citizens interested in speaking on the tax resolution may appear before the council at the scheduled meeting on July 25, 2017 at 6:00 P.M.