GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB)- City of Gainesville tax rates are going up in the next fiscal year, at least they will if city commissioners again pass the proposed budget at its second reading later this month.
We met with two commissioners, one who voted yes and one who voted no to the budget to get their take on why they voted how they did.
The budget passed its first reading on a 4-2 vote with city commissioner David Arreola not being in attendance. This means if it passes again, Gainesville residents will pay more for utilities, fire protection, and property taxes.
Commissioners who voted yes to the budget say it's to cover the large list of achievements residents have told them they want to tackle this coming year.
City Commissioner for District 4 Adrian Hayes-Santos explained, "our residents have been asking us to do more not less. They want us to deal with equity issues in our community, the transportation issues in our community, housing issues make sure we're protecting our environment. That's not free it does have a cost."
Commissioner for District 2 Harvey Ward says he voted against the budget as it sits now because he believes there were important conversations which were never had. "I thought that we should have approached it differently, more closely considered the general fund transfer and had more conversations about lowering that perhaps, this year."
Many residents asked commissioners to not raise taxes at Thursday's meeting, and although he understands raising taxes doesn't make people happy, Commissioner Hayes-Santos says it was necessary. "Like anyone, I don't like paying more taxes, I don't think anyone likes paying more taxes,.wW're trying to look at all the different levers what can we make more efficient and do here and there and trying to make our community a better place does cost money."
As for Commissioner Ward, even though he voted no to the rate increases he thinks the budget as it sits right now isn't unreasonable enough to cause him to worry. "I'm bullish on Gainesville I like it here and yeah I think it's going to be a good year whether we pass this budget or whether we have to make some changes to it. Yeah, it's going to be fine we're going to be okay."
The final reading of the budget will be September 26th.