Friday, February 19, 2021

Metro Council to revisit the practice of raising taxes by hiding it in your water bill.

by Rod Williams -  In 2019 Mayor Briley did not want to raise taxes and then face the voters for reelection but neither was he ready to make the hard choice of cutting expenditures so he engaged in a little shell game of hiding a tax increase. Instead of raising taxes, the city entered into a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement with the water department and the city increased the water rate and then the water department paid the city $10 million a year.  

Usually PILOT agreements apply to independent utilities, not departments of government.  Departments of government have no choice when it come to "agreements" with the city; they are part of the city.  The head of the Department answers to the mayor.  Having a metro department raise their rates and then increase their payments to the city coffers is about like the city reasoning that since the police department uses city streets, they should pay the city a PILOT and the fines imposed on speeders should be increased to get the money to pay the money charged the police department.

How about codes and planning?  Those departments use government building and city streets.  They could pay a fee to the city and increase the fees charged for reviewing plans or issuing building permits.

The Schools get a lot of money from the State.  Why not charge the Schools a PILOT? They use a lot of city services. It is asinine of course but that is the game they played with raising water rates in 2019 to hide a tax increase. 

I am pleased to see the Council revisiting this issue. Legislation has been introduced to roll back the PILOT agreement.  For more on this story follow this link

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