Mayor Says Tax Increase Caused In Part By State Mandates
Mayor Jon Mitchell is talking taxes and offering some reasons behind the recent property tax increase in the City of New Bedford.
Speaking on his weekly radio program on WBSM, the Mayor said the increase was due in part to mandates set by the state.
They include an additional $7 million in educational spending in the public schools, plus $1.9 million in new spending for the charter schools. Some, but not all of those dollars will be offset by reimbursements from the state.
The City has also increased spending in the Fire Department, picking up dozens of firefighter positions that were previously funded through a Federal "Safer" grant.
"You can't just get rid of 70 firefighters, so we had to absorb some of that cost. We'll continue to absorb that cost till the last grant has run out," said Mitchell.
Mitchell conceded the city needs more revenue but has very little buildable land to expand the tax base.
The City Council this week approved 20-cent increases in the tax rates for both commercial and residential property in New Bedford. .