City Council fails to override Mayor’s veto; votes to adopt 1% regular tax levy

Friday, November 30, 2012

After a failed veto override vote, the Lake Forest Park City Council took action Thursday night to adopt a 1 percent regular property tax increase at a special City Council meeting.

The meeting was called to address a veto Tuesday by Mayor Mary Jane Goss of an ordinance adopted the previous evening that would have increased the 2013 regular property tax levy by an additional 1 percent over the amount proposed in the Mayor’s budget.

The budget for 2013-2014 submitted by Mayor Goss included a 1 percent increase or $28,195 in the City’s regular property tax levy. The Council, on a 4-3 vote, instead adopted a property tax levy ordinance that increased the levy by just over 2 percent or $58,312: the maximum allowed the City under state law without a vote of the people. This additional amount of the levy was available to the City because the previous two years it had not taken the full amount of property tax increase allowed. This additional amount is commonly known as “banked” property tax capacity.

Thursday night, prior to the vote to adopt the 1 percent increase, the Council took a vote on the veto override, which failed with only two votes in favor. Five “yes” votes would have been required to overcome the veto.

The override vote failed with Deputy Mayor Catherine Stanford and Council Budget Committee Chair voting to support the override, and Council members Bob Lee, Tom French, Jeff Johnson and John Wright voting in opposition to the measure. Deputy Mayor Stanford joined the meeting telephonically. Council member Don Fiene was not in attendance at the meeting. Council members Lee and Fiene had voted in support of the banked capacity ordinance previously.

Following the failed override vote, the Council voted to approve the 1 percent regular levy increase as was originally proposed by Mayor Goss. The vote on the 1 percent ordinance was 5 to 1, with Councilmember French voting in opposition, and Councilmember Fiene absent.


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