Hazelwood Puts 1/4¢ Sales Tax Hike, 7% Utility Tax Proposals on Aug. 5th Ballot

By Bob Lindsey

The Hazelwood City Council last week approved  two referendums for placing two revenue generating measures before voters on the  Aug, 5th ballot.

At its meeting earlier this month, the council  gave a first reading to a bill that calls for a one-fourth-cent increase in the city’s sales tax, which is now 8.613 percent. It will be used for  fire department operations, which currently has about a $4 million annual budget. At last week’s meeting the sales tax increase was approved as will be Proposition  S on the Aug. 5 th ballot

The original propsal for the Utility tax proposed to voters was for  six percent tax to be added to most residential utility bills. The amount was changed to 7 percent at the May 21st meeting to accommodate a senior rebate program. It was approved  to appear as Proposition U on the Aug. 5th ballot

City Manger Matt Zimmerman had said the city was trying to decide if both should be submitted for a vote, or just submit one.  The city has recently asked residents to respond to a survey on the city’s financial situation by going to the city’s website (www.hazelwoodmo.org) In the end, the city decided  to go for  both proposals on the Aug. 5th ballot

Zimmerman  had said that city revenues  have lagged behind expenses in recent years and the city moved from a budget surplus to a budget deficit starting in 2012. The city is projecting a $1.6 million budget deficit for this year

It was estimated that the 6 percent increase in the utility tax would raise about $1.3 annually and quarter-cent sales tax would raise an additional $1.1 million.

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