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McCleary hosts forum on police levy

McCleary Mayor Gary Dent is hosting an informational meeting next week about two property tax measures on the ballot this August.

The meeting is set for 6:30 p.m., Monday, June 23 at the VFW Hall at 158 Summit Road N. in McCleary.

The McCleary City Council is asking for voters to consider a levy lid lift that would garner an extra $62,000 a year for the next six years; as well as a dedicated property tax levy of $110,000 that would just be for one year.

The M&O levy for police protection would increase taxes by an additional $1.14 per thousand of a property’s assessed value. That means an extra $114 on a $100,000 home. This measure would need a 60 percent voter approval to pass.

The levy lid lift would raise the city’s property tax levy from the current $2.56 per thousand of a property’s assessed value to $3.18 per thousand. That’s an extra $62 on a $100,00 home. The levy lid lift would just require a simple majority vote of 50 percent-plus-one-vote for approval.

That means if voters approve both measures, it’d be an extra $176 that they would be paying in property taxes to the city next year.

Should both measures pass, and taking into account the school levy and other special property districts, including the Timberland Library District, and City Attorney Dan Glenn noted in a recent memo to the City Council that the full property tax rates paid next year by McCleary residents will be more like $4.32 per thousand. That’s a full $432 on a $100,000 home in McCleary.

Dent says the city needs the funds. The mayor already laid off a police officer in January and eliminated the half-time police clerk’s position. He’s threatened a whole host of cuts in recent months if the city is unable to come up with more revenue.

Among the cost-cutting measures Dent had proposed to look at this year is merging the city’s courts with Elma and contracting out police services to the Sheriff. But he hasn’t pursued those avenues yet.

Last fall, Dent had originally proposed a $400,000 property tax levy and said if voters didn’t approve it then he told the community he would lay off every police officer, including the chief; close the museum, close the library, stop funding the city cemetery and city parks and turn to Elma to handle fire services.

He’s since said that the city’s revenue numbers have shown improvement, but more cuts are inevitable unless voters approve the levy.