LFP Mayor vetoes Property Tax and Budget Ordinances

Thursday, November 27, 2014

From the City of Lake Forest Park

Mayor Mary Jane Goss has vetoed the 2015 property tax ordinance and the 2015-16 biennial budget ordinance. On November 26, 2014, Mayor Goss gave notice to the City Council regarding both vetoes.

With regard to the property tax ordinance, it was recently discovered that the City had inadvertently received some of its “banked” or saved levy capacity by the way a levy reporting form had been filled out. This resulted in more property tax being levied and collected in recent years than the City had approved to levy. Mayor Goss prepared an alternate ordinance that would have lowered the tax levy and “re-banked” the levy capacity, but the Council passed the original levy ordinance, which retained it. In the veto statement, Mayor Goss urged the Council to pass the alternate ordinance, which would leave the City no better or worse off in property tax revenue than it had originally planned to be when passing those previous levies.

Mayor Goss also vetoed the 2015-16 biennial budget ordinance. The main reasons were to give the City a chance to install and get some history in new traffic camera revenue before spending it. Additionally, the Council was urged to save some money for City stability and budget sustainability rather than spending the new revenue on certain added Council priorities.

In the Mayor/Council form of government, the mayor has veto power over certain types of ordinances, including Property Tax Ordinance 1086 and Biennial Budget Ordinance 1089. The City Council may meet to consider the veto and potential override or changes in the ordinances. There is a time limit on the property tax ordinance approval.

The mayor is the executive branch of the city government. The mayor is elected directly by the voters of Lake Forest Park for a four year term. The City of Lake Forest Park has a strong-mayor form of municipal government in which the mayor has the administrative authority to prepare and administer the budget, appoint a City Administrator, and appoint and dismiss department heads. The City Administrator supervises department heads, assists in the preparation and administration of the budget, and coordinates department operations.


Tom Jamieson,  November 27, 2014 at 10:13 PM  

Maybe if Shoreline went to a "strong mayor" form of government, where the mayor is elected by the citizens rather than her fellow council members , it might generate more interest in the budget and taxes. One thing is for sure, the LFP mayor didn't have to file public records requests to get the information she needed to decide to veto.

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