Councilmember not pleased with proposed raise in property tax

Ottumwa City Councilmember J.R. Richards told KTVO Wednesday that he is not pleased that residents could see an increase in property taxes.

According to the cityâ??s proposed budget plan for the next fiscal year, residents will see a 1 percent increase in property taxes from the city. That increase does not include what the school district and county are proposing.

Councilmember Richards told KTVO that the city should not be raising taxes, when in November, they passed the local option sales tax; unfortunately, that does not help reduce property taxes until 2016.

â??I challenged our department heads to find a way not to raise taxes this year. The voters in this community were kind enough and showed enough trust and faith in our group to give us a 1 percent sales tax, local option sales tax,â?? said Richards. â??Part of that was property tax relief, but that does not kick in until 2016. I would like to start now and not raise taxes if at all possible, and so I have challenged our city people to try to find a way to do that.â??

Ottumwaâ??s Mayor, Frank Flanders, told KTVO that all of the cityâ??s department are doing more with less; and that Ottumwa is moving in the right direction. Flanders added that he is very happy with progress Ottumwa is making on street repairs.