JACKSONVILLE — City leaders Thursday mulled raising some taxes, cutting insurance costs for certain city workers and hiring four new employees as part of their 2018 draft budget.
The proposed tax increases would generate an estimated $260,000 annually. Meanwhile, the health insurance changes and hires would cost the city about $330,000 a year. The possible changes come as the city faces an approximately $227,000 projected deficit after slashing more than $600,000 in spending for the upcoming fiscal year.
The figures considered did not include the full supplement of $250,000 normally allocated to the city’s public schools.
The Jacksonville City Council discussed the proposed changes to its draft 2018 budget during a regular work session Thursday. The council is set to vote on adopting its budget by the end of September. Its 2018 fiscal year starts Oct. 1.
The proposed revenue increases include raising the city gasoline tax to 2 cents from 1 cent, putting it on equal footing with the gas taxes in the surrounding cities of Gadsden, Anniston and Weaver. Jacksonville’s lodging tax would be raised to 6 percent from 5 percent, putting on par with those in Anniston and Oxford.
The council also proposed raising the license fee for residential rental properties to 1 percent of gross receipts, up from the current 0.15 percent of gross receipts.
“It’s obvious we need some additional revenue measures,” Councilman Jimmy Harrell said in defense of the proposed tax increases. “We have cut and cut and we’re on the eve of passing a…
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