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Vernon Commissioners Hear From Residents on Property Tax Hike
By David Gonzalez
The Vernon City Commission is getting closer to adopting a new budget after holding a public hearing on Thursday evening.
Commissioners heard from Vernon residents on a proposed 6.4% increase to their property taxes.
Most residents are against the proposed tax hike because they say property taxes are already high enough.
Some suggested raising taxes over a few years in increments.
In addition, commissioners heard from many city employees who say the proposed tax hikes greatly affect them as the city also looks at making a 10% across-the-board cuts to all departments, including police and fire, to help balance the budget.
Vernon City Manager Mitch Grant says, "Our employees are all concerned about their jobs and these are difficult times and they've all cut and cut and cut on operations so much. What we're looking at is manpower now."
Commissioners also discussed how to improve the city's financial situation which the mayor says is in critical condition.
They say for the past several years, the city has been taking money from the Utility Fund and putting it in the General Fund.
They say Utility funds are used and needed to make repairs to the city's water fields.
Grant presented five progressive scenarios to fix the problem.
They range from raising rates to reducing staff and changing operations in some of their departments.
Another public meeting will be held next week on Aug. 19 5:30 p.m.
Vernon City Commissioners are expected to adopt a new budget during their regular meeting on Aug. 26 at 6:30 p.m.