Longview Maintains Property Tax Levels, Provides ARPA Relief Fund | Government and Politics
Two actions by Longview City Council Thursday night shaped what the city’s budget will look like next year.
The council voted not to increase the property tax levy for 2022. A city council subcommittee presented its recommendations on how to use $ 8.1 million of American federal relief funds. Rescue Plan Act.
Council’s decision not to make the 1% property tax increase available by state law results in a tax rate of $ 2.24 per $ 1,000 of assessed property value, down from 18 cents over this year’s tax rate.
The vote was 4-2, with Hillary Strobel and Ruth Kendall voting against. Both said the 1% increase in revenue would still lower the property tax rate and help the city fund future projects.
Christine Schott said she was torn over whether to vote to keep the levy stable. While taking the increase would still have led to a small tax cut for residents, Schott ultimately decided that current inflation and the overall economic situation made avoiding the increase the best option.
“That’s the principle right now,” Schott said.
While the regular property tax rate will remain stable, Longview should still see a slight increase in income. New construction and the increase in the value of Crown-owned land are expected to increase the city’s general fund revenue by $ 83,900.
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ARPA plans will cover 15 urban projects
Kendall, Strobel and Mike Wallin have worked on the subcommittee for three months to develop a plan for federal funds. The three have worked with members of several city departments to navigate the requirements for the types of urban projects eligible for American Rescue Plan Act funds.
Their proposal for Longview focuses on three broad areas: tackling homelessness and shortages of housing, water supply infrastructure and replacing the city’s revenue spent on recent projects.
The council group recommended using $ 2.8 million of the funds to expand water and sewer lines in five currently vacant properties. Wallin said expanding this infrastructure would help spark interest from new real estate developers in the properties and speed up housing projects that have already been offered to the city.
“This is underutilized and underdeveloped land, places that developers are already looking for, and we can provide a spark,” Wallin said.
The subcommittee predicts that the five locations will likely provide Longview with 170 single family homes, 34 townhouses and 46 homes for low and very low income residents.
A series of water and stormwater infrastructure projects will use $ 3.2 million of the funds. The group’s largest investment will create a dedicated fill line for the Mint Valley water tank, eventually improve water quality by requiring less chlorine, and increase the tank’s long-term capacity.
The reservoir project is the only proposed improvement that would not be fully funded by ARPA. Council members said the city would likely increase the water tariff and take out a bond to cover the remaining cost.
The remaining $ 2.1 million will be used to reimburse the city for recent public health projects and upcoming improvements. This list includes recent efforts to clean up the Alabama Street homeless campground, changes made by the Longview Public Library due to the pandemic, and a fleet of building renovations the city has delayed.
“We are using this tremendous amount of replacement income to get these improvements that we have held our breaths on and crossed our fingers on,” Strobel said.
The board will deepen the costs of some of the projects at a workshop in December and hopes to vote on all of the projects before the end of the year.