By Karyn Spory, Mt. Pleasant News
New London residents will see an ever so slight increase in property taxes for fiscal year 2019.
Tuesday night the New London City Council approved a property tax rate of $11.94943 per $1,000 valuation. It?s an increase of $0.0137, City Clerk Kasi Howard told the council and citizens in attendance. The rate increase will generate an additional $580.33 per year for the whole town.
The tax rate was approved by a 4-1 vote. Council member Tom Davis cast the lone ?no? vote.
Some residents, however, were concerned with the property tax increase on top of the sewer rate increase. Marianne Williams spoke to the council during a public forum for the proposed budget, saying as someone living on a fixed income the increases worried her. ?I count every penny and if you increase my taxes and my sewer rate, I don?t know how I?m going to pay it. I don?t know how a lot of people are going to be able to live in New London when you increase (the rates),? she said.
Howard attempted to reassure Williams. ?I doubt your (property taxes) would go up more than $1 a year,? she said adding she?d have to double check the valuation of Williams home, but it would be very minimal.
As for the sewer rate, several of the council members reminded the audience that a rate increase was necessary to keep up with the conditions of the city?s loan for the water treatment plant. ?I did look into this,? Councilman Scott Campbell said of finding another solution to accommodate the loan guidelines without raising the sewer rates. ?I tried to find different ways to do this, but I couldn?t find another way, which is why I?m supporting this.?
The sewer rate had been a minimum of $31.50 for the first 1,500 gallons. The new rate would increase $2.50, with the minimum payment for the first 1,5000 gallons starting at $34. From there, residents would be charged $11.50 per gallon for the next 3.5000 gallons. The next 5,000 gallons would run $10.50 per gallon; and $9.50 for the next 5,000 gallons. Consumers using an additional 5,000 gallons would pay $8.50 per gallon and anything additional would be $5.50 per gallon.
The council approved the third reading of the ordinance with a 4-1 vote. Davis voted ?no.?
In other money matters, the council approved donating $100 for the city?s annual Easter Egg Hunt as well as $250 toward the construction of a billboard for the Dover Historical Society.
Council members also took a look at flooring quotes for the new community hall. According to council members, the concrete floor in the community hall has a substantial crack, which council member Brad Helmerson deemed a ?trip hazard.? Quotes to fix the floor ranged from $6,800 to over $9,000. Davis felt the city had already put too much money into the property, especially as he was under the impression when the city purchased the property that updates would be done mostly through volunteer work.
?You can do the floor yourself,? Davis said, ?it?s not that hard.?
In his next breath, Davis stated the apoxie used on the floor was toxic and a hazardous material that should only be used by a professional.
?If we were to get volunteers together, do you have the equipment needed, since you said the apoxie was toxic, to keep us all safe?? Berner asked Davis.
?If I did it,? Davis said. ?I don?t want people who don?t know what they?re doing working on it because the stuff is very expensive and I don?t want people messing it up.?
The council agreed to finish up the current projects on the community building and see where they are budget wise.
The next meeting of the New London City Council will be held on Tuesday, April 3, at 6 p.m. in City Offices.