Cottonwood City Council approves Notice of Intent for sales tax hike

“I don’t believe there are any areas that can be cut enough to make up for the financial damage that the ‘Great Recession’ has done to our city.” -- Doug Hulse, Parks & Recreation Commission Chairman. VVN/Halie Chavez

“I don’t believe there are any areas that can be cut enough to make up for the financial damage that the ‘Great Recession’ has done to our city.” -- Doug Hulse, Parks & Recreation Commission Chairman. VVN/Halie Chavez

COTTONWOOD -- Cottonwood City Council moved forward with a Notice of Intent at its regular meeting Tuesday to implement a .5-percent sales tax hike, raising it to 3.5 percent.

Cottonwood Mayor Time Elinski once again was the swing vote in the decision. Council Members Deb Althouse, Tosca Henry and Ruben Jauregui voted against the increase.

“I tried the best I could to represent all sides in this,” Elinski said. “These are difficult conversations to have.”

A public hearing will be held on Aug. 7 at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers on 826 North Main Street on the proposed increase. A second hearing will be held on Sept. 4.

 Public response of the proposed increase has been mixed so far with members of the public bringing signs to city council meetings advocating for and against an increase.

Those opposed to the increase say it’s a regressive tax on the poor and homeless since food and groceries are included in the sales tax. Others argue that Cottonwood is a full-service city serving the entire Verde Valley and needs to increase revenue in order to continue providing services to the community

Deputy City Manager Rudy Rodriguez said during the meeting that since “The Great Recession,” the city has taken a hit in its reserves.

Parks & Recreation Commission Chairman Doug Hulse, who is also a candidate for Cottonwood City Council, spoke during a call to the public about the necessity for funding the city’s infrastructure since the recession.

  “People opposed to the sales tax increase are screaming that the city needs to cut spending and while I’m sure there are areas where we could cut spending, I have worked on budget committees in past years and I’ve seen the budget cut pretty much to the bone,” he said. “I don’t believe there are any areas that can be cut enough to make up for the financial damage that the ‘Great Recession’ has done to our city.

Budget discussion

City staff will present a tentative budget with the sales tax increase Monday, June 25th. Some proposed cuts include reduction in court employee salaries, reduction of contractual services and removal of the Old Town Association contribution.

Final adoption of the budget is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 7.

The council holds regular meetings every first and third Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. at their Chambers Building, located 826 N. Main St. For agendas and minutes, visit http://cottonwoodaz.gov/129/Agendas-Minutes. A livestream of the meetings is also available on the Verde Valley TV YouTube channel.

Comments

Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comment submissions may not exceed a 200 word limit, and in order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit excessive comment entries.

StevenBostwick 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Blaming the "Great Recession" for the city's financial woes and depletion of reserves is totally disingenuous. Doug Hulse's comment that the city's budget has already been cut to the bone is just parroting the managements tag line they used to justify the tax increase. The truth is beginning around 2008 they went on a spending spree and couldn't spend the reserves and them borrow to the hilt fast enough. When the rest of us had to hunker down and tighten our belts they did the opposite. Does food and every other taxable commodity cost more than it did 10 years ago? Yes and therefore revenue goes up at the same tax rate. So as prices go up so does your revenue. You don't have a revenue problem, you have a spending problem.

0

pinonbistro 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Fact: the city gets the bulk of its income from sales tax revenues. Fact: these revenues declined precipitously in 2008 and did not recover for almost a decade. Luckily the city had saved for just such an event in the form of reserves. Of course they were spent over the ensuing decade which is why they were accumulated in the first place. As to debt the city's debt is on par with that of most other cities. All the debt that the city has entered into is an investment in the community’s future. Water companies and its infrastructure, street improvements, wastewater infrastructure, water reclamation infrastructure and even quality of life projects such as the recreation center, library expansion and ballparks are long term investments that are in line with the city's mission and vision statements. These are the reasons I live in Cottonwood. And I'm happy to pay the extra 50 cents on $100 to help finance them. Residents in neighboring towns like Sedona, Camp Verde, and Jerome pay the same or higher sales tax plus city property or special district tax that Cottonwood doesn't have and don't receive nearly the same services or amenities.

0