• Last modified 677 days ago (July 16, 2020)


Marion split on tax increase

Staff writer

Marion hasn’t voted in favor of a mill levy increase since 2014, and councilman Ruth Herbel doesn’t want to start now.

“With what everybody’s been through this year, it’s been really hard,” Herbel said at Monday’s council meeting. “If we increase it any amount, they’re going to look at us in a bad way.”

Raising the tax rate by 0.89 mills would be enough to balance the budget, administrator Roger Holter estimated.

Assuming no change in valuation, a single mill generates $10,207 for the city, and a mill increase adds $10.34 to the yearly tax for a typical residence valued at $89,917, Holter said.

The tax rate did increase from 71.079 to 71.117 mills in 2019, but that was to offset an unexpected decline in valuation, Holter said.

Although inflation raises valuation and tax revenue generated as a result, Holter said refusing to increase the levy has limited the city in the long term.

“We’ve basically gone seven years with no mill levy adjustment,” Holter said. “At the same time, in those seven years we’re losing purchasing power.”

Alternatives for Marion would be to cut staffing or cut a program, he said.

Herbel and councilman Jerry Kline were against Holter’s estimated rate while mayor Dave Mayfield and councilman Chris Costello supported it.

“You divide that out over 365 days, that’s not very much a day,” Mayfield said. “That’s not much of an increase in the mill levy. I don’t even know that I’d notice it on mine.”

A special meeting Monday will discuss the budget further. The council will need to propose a budget by July 28’s meeting.

The budget would then be published and citizens would have a chance to comment on it before its adoption.

Last modified July 16, 2020