What is the best use of Florence tax dollars?

What is the best use of Florence tax dollars?

As you may know the Town of Florence is facing a budget shortage of up to $1.7 million dollars due to the loss of state-shared revenues and the decrease in the prison population.

At the last council meeting on April 17th, the town finance manager gave Mayor Walter and the Councilmembers several options to make up for this deficit:

Tax/Fee Increases: 1. Food tax increase, 2. Construction tax increase, 3. Sales tax increase, 4. Property tax increase, 5. Excise tax/Special district tax, 6. Fee increases (library, parks, etc.)

Budget Reductions: 1. Eliminate employees, 2. Reduce employee salaries, 3. Reduce employee benefits, 4. Eliminate employee merit increases, 5. Eliminate employee stipends/bonuses

While the Town Council plans ways to increase revenues and decrease spending, they continue to allocate funds to fight EPA and ADEQ in their attempt to stop the Florence Copper project. To date, the Florence Town Council has spent over $1.2 million dollars of your tax dollars with more anticipated for the coming fiscal year.

Several Florence residents attended Monday night’s Town Council meeting to express their concern. Here are some of their comments:

“The Town has spent to date $1.2 million in legal fees mostly to attorneys opposing Florence Copper and now has budgeted an additional $300,000 in the new budget to continue that fight. Assuming the Town will spend that amount that would bring the total to about $1.5 million. If that isn’t wasteful spending then I don’t know what you call it … Folks, I think you’re playing a losing hand … It’s time for the town to cut its losses. Rather than budgeting $300,000 for continuing legal costs … put it in a contingency fund for unforeseen expenses. I have a feeling you’re going to need it.”

- Wilbur Freeman, Former Mayor of Florence and Florence resident

“With so many pressing demands on its revenue, I am concerned about the $300,000 that the Town Council is planning to budget to pay for the costly legal fees to fight the Florence Copper Project. $300,000 is a lot of money!”

- H. Douglas Carlson, Florence resident

In the coming weeks, Florence residents have the right to attend the public Town Council meetings at the Florence Town Hall and express their thoughts and ideas about the future spending of Florence tax dollars.

Your presence will help encourage the Florence Town Council to budget wisely.

We hope to see you there!

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