At the Tuesday, November 25th City Council session, Councilor Tracey Wood asked questions before the approval of:
“Adopt Ordinance No. 991 amending the YMC, Chapter 3.42 Utility Tax which increases the rate imposed on Water, Sewer and Storm water Utility from 4% to 6% upon the sale, delivery, distribution or furnishing or water, sanitary sewerage collection and disposal services and storm drainage facilities.”
Even though Mayor Harding said this was thoroughly discussed at the Council’s Study Session, Mr. Wood asked questions because he was still unclear about the tax rate increase on this ordinance. Mr. Harding finally brushed him aside saying this was not a tax on the public, rather “a tax on ourselves (the city),” which means this IS a tax on the public, because the city is a public municipality largely funded by property owners. Then, Mayor Pro-tem Bob Isom interrupted with an impertinent tone and his own explanation to assist Wood. Yet another councilor made a joke about Mr. Wood not understanding. Isom then impatiently called for a vote on the Ordinance, which passed.
I was embarrassed for Mr. Wood, who rightly wanted to understand something on which he was to vote. The explanations were unclear, at best. This display towards Councilor Wood was unprofessional, as he genuinely wanted to understand to vote appropriately. If he was still unclear after the Council previous Study Session covering this issue, I am sure several other Councilors did not understand either, however remained quiet. Bravo to Mr. Wood for speaking up.
– UPDATE: December 4, 2014
“‘Basically what were doing is, were cheating ourselves by not being able to pull enough money out of the water fund and throw it into the general fund right now, we can only charge ourselves 4 percent’ Councilor Bob Isom said. ‘Were going to tax ourselves 6 percent to allow us to pull more money out of the fund.'”
“‘This isnt money that gets charged to the customer,’ Harding clarified. ‘This is the money that gets charged to the city of Yelm. This does not equal a tax increase to the customer, this just takes money from the utility and moves that revenue to the general fund.'”
From the Nisqually Valley News:
Mr. Harding needs to be reminded that money billed to the city and moved to the General Fund is then replenished by taxes – from his constituents, so the city’s “customer” eventually DOES get charged.