Gresham's temporary $7.50 utility fee now permanent with council vote on June 3, 2014

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Gresham's temporary $7.50 utility fee now permanent with council vote on June 3, 2014. Info here!
City of Gresham, Fire & Rescue

The Gresham City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to make permanent an expiring $7.50 monthly utility fee to help stave off cuts to police and fire services, two weeks after voters rejected a property tax increase intended for that purpose.

Source: oregonlive.com (Jun 4, 2014)

The utility fee is now expected bring in $3.7 million in 2014-15. The tax would have raised $5.4 million toward next year's budget. Budget Director Sharron Monohon said officials would suggest amendments to the city's proposed budget to keep it in balance.

"We have no choice but to protect our people," said council member Karylinn Echols.

The utility fee was due to expire June 30.

The city's proposed budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year, which starts July 1, included $5.4 million from an "unspecified source" that would replace the sunsetting fee.

City leaders had hoped the new source would be a tax hike of $1.25 per $1,000 in taxable assessed property value at the May 20 ballot. The vote was so close that Mayor Shane Bemis wouldn't concede defeat for days afterward. But the narrow margin against the measure persisted as the final votes were counted. Read more.

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