Mayor Lyn Bailey said that, to date, the city has paid $245,308.61 in attorney’s fees to plaintiffs in the recent class action lawsuit against the city, as well as payments to those who had requested back taxes. In light of this and increasing expenses, he said he had a “serious talk about our finances,” and had come to the conclusion that the ideal way to increase tax revenue was to raise the city’s payroll tax by a half a percentage point. He also said that Cadiz has one of the lowest payroll taxes in the surrounding area. The city’s current payroll tax is one percent, which would bring the total to 1.5 percent.
Councilmember Jim Ricks began to make a motion to proceed with the increase, but Councilmember Susan Bryant said that perhaps the city might consider other ways to increase revenue. She said she didn’t have any ideas, but said someone else might.
“We haven’t really had this discussion, and I would like to ponder it,” she said.
Bailey said, though, that he had discussed the issue with each of the council members at various times in private, rather than at a finance committee meeting. He said that in their discussions, they had come to the consensus that increasing the payroll tax would be the best option. He later told The Cadiz Record that in addition to payments the city has made related to the lawsuit, expenses had increased because of employee raises and the rising cost of fuel, utilities, health insurance and insurance premiums.
Ricks said he thought that increasing the payroll tax was the best option because it wouldn’t harm those on a fixed income. He later told The Cadiz Record that by “fixed income,” he meant people who received a pension of some kind and who might be physically unable to work.
City Clerk Lisa Rogers told The Cadiz Record that in an average year, the city collects about $380,000 in payroll taxes. She estimated that with the half-percent increase, the city would bring in an additional $180,000 to $200,000.
For complete coverage on city income tax, read The Cadiz Record.