YUMA, Ariz. – The Yuma City Council voted 5-2 in favor of the $226 million budget and also implemented the increased property tax into the budget.
City of Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls says, “This is not a decision entered into lightly. It’s taken a lot of time and a lot of effort not just by council but by a lot of different people in the community.”
The tax levy will now go into the city budget and the council will have another vote if the levy should be funded.
“It’s a two step process; It has to be in the budget and then you can vote as a council to fund it as it would be into the budget,” says Nicholls.
Nicholls, who voted for the increase, says the tax increase will help fund city police and other government workers who need the wages.
“We can only put it off for so long until it starts failing and I’m afraid we are on the verge of failing in our equipment, failing in some of our services and failing in our employees. When you don’t pay quality rates or market rates, then your quality people tend to leave for those rates in other places.”
The next vote to find out if the tax will be funded will happen on Wednesday May 18th. Nicholls expects the same turnout for when the council votes.
“I would expect a similar vote but I have not polled and will not poll council before the meeting,” says Nicholls.
The city council chambers were packed with residents, police and firefighters as they waited to hear how the council would vote.
“When there is a lot of people I think it’s great, I think people need to be involved in local government. As you heard tonight most of the speakers were actually in favor of the property tax increase not because they wanted to pay more taxes, but because they felt it’s time that we needed to put more money into services that the city is providing to maintain it or improve it,” says Nicholls.