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Lancaster: City to increase tax rate by 9 cents

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Lancaster: City to increase tax rate by 9 cents

LANCASTER - The first of three public hearings for the new fiscal budget year was held Monday, Aug. 23 during a regular scheduled council meeting.

A standing room only crowd stood mostly in opposition for any tax increase or cut to police and fire staff.

The cuts to the fire and police personnel were just one of many ways the city is looking at to get itself out of a deficit many citizens are calling "ridiculous."

"I urge council to reconsider these cuts," said resident Laurie Williamson.

"I don’t mind paying higher taxes to keep these officers [two are proposed to lose their job if approved] but what I do mind is paying higher taxes and still seeing these cuts take place."

The proposed tax increase would have property owners paying an additional nine cents per $100 valuation (0.8675) compared to last year’s rate of 0.7775 cents.

"I have two words to describe the council and city right now, ‘incompetence and arrogance,’" said resident James Adams.

"This embarrassing mess [the budget deficient] didn’t just happen overnight."

At least six people were opposed to the recreation center’s hours being cut.

Helen, an advocate for early morning swimming at nearly 87 years old, said she swims for almost 30- 45 minutes at 6:30 a.m. every morning at the recreation center and walks the rest.

"I am very proud to tell people my age when they approach me and tell me how much I inspire them, I would hate to see the early morning hours cut out of the schedule."

City Manager Ricky Childers said this was just the first of three public hearing for certain items on the agenda and there will be more chance for open forums.

The next public hearing for the tax increase is set for Monday, Aug. 30 and the final before the vote on Monday, Sept.13.

"We can’t keep putting a band aid on this," said Mannix Smith, opposing the tax increase.

"Three[council] seats are up next year and I am looking at how each of you [the council] vote."

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