Vernon Property Owners Concerned Over Proposed Property Tax Hike

- The Vernon City Commission is expected to adopt a new budget next week which includes an increase to the city's property taxes. Vernon Mayor Joe Rogers says the 6.4% tax hike is necessary because of Vernon's critical financial situation but some residents say the tax hike will do more harm than good..

Chuck Raney, owner of Village Park Apartments and H.I.P. Property Management, says the property take increase will affect his bottom line because he'll be forced to pass along the cost to his tenants.

"Many issues are money issues," Raney says. "I know we have to do something somewhere but this big of a jump all at once is a bit scary."

Raney says half of the 22 units on his property are vacant. He says increasing property taxes will only make things worse.

"Now I'm looking at individuals coming in and entities coming in and wanting to raise the taxes on us which is going to affect our bottom line again. Everything is up but the business end here in Vernon," Raney says.

In addition, he says, "I really feel that they're going to with that. We're going to try and pass some of the cost on. We'll have to wait and see what happens, then we'll evaluate. And I think it'll be difficult. I think our vacancy factors will go back up."

However, Rogers says it's a price everyone has to pay to keep funding the city and to make much needed improvements to the city's water system.

"It's going to be citizens, employees, management, all of us together," Rogers says. "We're all in this together and we have to have water so the main thing is we got to do what we do to keep a good water supply coming to our city."

Vernon commissioners are also considering making cuts to city employee's benefits to make up the additional funds as well as a 15% increase to water and sewer rates.  They're expected to vote on a new budget on Aug. 26 at 6:30 p.m. at Vernon City Hall.

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