Brentwood Alderman Kramer: Mayor Said Residents Can be Taxed if Needed
Kramer hasn't been happy with Brentwood's low reserve, and doesn't like mayor Kelly's idea of taxing residents as a possible fix.
Brentwood alderman Tom Kramer says the city's budget reserve is insufficient.
Kramer is on the Brentwood Ways and Means Committee, and the reserve was a topic of discussion at Tuesday's meeting.
Maureen Saunders, also on the committee, said there is less than a month's expenses in reserve.
Kramer said he's brought it up over the years, and has been told not to worry, because residents are not taxed on things they could be taxed on, which would bring in revenue if needed.
Kramer further explained his statement in an email to Patch.
"For years, the city has not assessed, nor collected residential real estate taxes or residential utility taxes. We could, but we don’t.
"Our residential property tax rate is zero. Our residential utility taxes are zero. We are able to do this because of our sizable sales tax revenue. Most cities are not that fortunate.
"This is good for our residents, but, as the mayor has stated regularly, (uncollected taxes) represents an amount of funds that the city could assess and take advantage of that income, if it were ever needed.
The number is large, and the mayor has that data. To date, for an extended number of years, the city has not been in that much need so as to assess those taxes."
Kramer said mayor Pat Kelly would be happy to give a direct quote. The mayor, however, couldn't be reached by Patch.
Kramer said his issue with using uncollected (and unassessed) taxes to fix the low reserve, if needed, "is that there would definitely be a lag between incorporating those taxes, and then actually receiving them. Having money in reserves is there immediately, for any cause..."
"I am much more comfortable having a reserve that is funded to higher levels, if we have the means to do so." he said. "Assessing and collecting the extra taxes should be for ongoing needs of the city, only if needed, and not for a delayed funding of our reserve."