Lewiston City Council decides to increase property taxes by half percent

LEWISTON, ID - Lewiston property owners will pay a .5% increase on their property taxes for the next fiscal year.

"I can live with a half % property tax increase," said Lewiston City Council member Jim Kleeburg.

Originally councilors were looking at approving a budget that would increase property taxes up to 2%. Now Lewiston residents will pay .5%. That hike means each property owner will see an increase of $7 per $100,000 of taxable value.

But Councilors Thyra Stevenson and Clinton Daniel did not agree with this decision pointing out there are alternative ways to avoid a property tax increase at all.

"It's hard for me to believe that we can't find similar other kinds of things to get us down," said Stevenson.

"This would be the year to maybe dip into savings so we don't hurt the citizens anymore," said Daniel.

Although suggestions were made, the majority of councilors agreed that the purchase of a new mower for the parks and recreation department as well as a new ambulance remount for the fire department can be put off another year. However, the council with two dissensions, decided those were the only two budgeted items that could be put off. Just those two delays will save an estimated $210,000 in the 2013 budget.

"There's no doubt about it in my mind that we're behind in some of our services and some of the things that we offer in this city," said Mayor Pro Tem Brad Cannon. "But, we have cut, I want everyone to remember that."

"We're not talking about cutting fees and services," said Stevenson. "We're talking about deferring some things that in times when they're rough you need to make a decision. It's always a leap of faith, it's the same thing when you have car and you need to say well, I can probably get another year out of."

In the end, councilors voted 5-2 to approve the property tax for the next fiscal year to .5%.