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From the Mayor - INFOCUS - June 2012
It has been a great year for our City. In the past 12 months, we grew by 30 new businesses, saw our crime rate drop for the fifth consecutive year, and watched as permits for new housing starts more than doubled. Clearly, the economy is showing signs of recovery.
That’s good news as we review the new budget plan and strive to deliver the best services possible for the lowest cost to taxpayers.
Topping our list is another cut in the food tax, the second reduction in as many years. The new budget proposes to cut the tax a quarter of a cent, down from the current 2.25% to 2%.
Unfortunately, property values continue to drop, meaning property tax rates still have to be adjusted slightly in this budget to pay those bills. But thanks to our bond refinancing strategy, we’ve been able to hold down the cost to an average increase of only 54 cents a month.
None of us likes paying more in property taxes but until the economy fully recovers and property values improve, we’ll have to continue to work together to meet our obligations while minimizing the impact on taxpayers.
Helping grow our local economy is precisely the goal of our ongoing reorganization of City Hall as we seek to streamline services that clear the way for new business and investment in Goodyear. We are making changes that will improve our ability to help local businesses grow and new businesses create jobs in our community.
Finally, this budget proposes to give employees their first pay increase in four years as a way to retain workers and attract future top-notch talent to the City. The proposed 2.5% raise for employees is coupled with an average 6.4% increase in employees’ share of their health insurance benefits.
As with any city budget, this plan isn’t perfect. But it makes the most of the current economic situation and does a good job of balancing the quality services our residents demand with the cost of providing them, while always considering the taxpayers who ultimately pay the bill.