Sparks to vote on property tax increase in May

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Updated: 4/15/2014 7:56 pm
SPARKS, Nev. ( & KRNV) -- The City of Sparks is one council vote away from a property tax increase. But not everyone would be impacted by the proposal.

City officials said it will be a while before Sparks recovers from the recession, but to get there, every bit of income helps as the city tries to get back to 2007.

"The recession has had an impact on everybody," said Financial Services Director Jeff Cronk. "It also had an impact on the city, you know, a dramatic impact and we are still trying to recover from that."

A special City Council meeting in May will vote on a property tax increase for the 2015 fiscal year. The tax covers both private and commercial properties, but only touches 3.7 percent of property owners.

Cronk said the council can raise private property taxes by just 3 percent. "Right now, the council only has the opportunity to raise taxes by that small amount so, again, it's one of those situations that every little bit helps, but in the end, it's not a lot."

The preliminary increase is expected to add $250,000 to the Sparks General Fund. Officials expect the increase to be approved, and once it is, the specifics of who exactly gets taxed will be determined. 3,700 properties will fall under this tax.

"We're trying to maintain our ability to handle our cash flows as much as we possibly can while still keeping everything as low as we can," said Cronk.

A Sparks garbage tax increase is also up for approval for 2015. Home and business owners would see about a $.50 increase each month, netting $400,000 for the city. "Where we go from here is trying to maintain our expenses or lower our expenses as much as we possibly can," said Cronk.

Roughly 90 percent of the General Fund income comes from property and sales taxes, along with licenses and permits. Most of these taxes are capped by law, making it difficult for Sparks to find new ways to increase revenue.
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