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Taxes on DeKalb City Council agenda

DeKALB - The DeKalb City Council is scheduled to discuss proposed tax increases at a meeting Monday evening. In March, the sales tax was raised and a motor fuel tax was established to address the city's budget shortfall. An audit projected that the city's general fund would have a $500,000 shortfall by June 30, the end of the city's 2008 Fiscal Year. The natural gas, electricity and hotel-motel tax increases scheduled for discussion Monday are included in the city's 2009 proposed budget to generate funds for the next fiscal year, Assistant City Manager Rudy Espiritu said during a news conference Thursday. These revenues are also part of the city's five-year financial plan. The water and waste rate increases are to cover rising costs of services, Espiritu said. Some increases could go into effect as early as July if approved. Tax proposals on the meeting's agenda include: Natural gas tax: Would increase from $0.02 to $0.04 per therm (a unit of energy), or about $20.16 per year for a family of four, according to estimates from city officials. It would generate an additional $150,000 revenue to general fund. It would become effective within 30 to 60 days, if approved. Electricity tax: Would generate an additional $67,500 revenue to the general fund, costing the average homeowner an additional $4.68 per year. If approved, it would become effective Jan. 1. Hotel-motel tax: Would increase tax rate from 5 percent to 6 percent, generating an additional $21,000 for the economic development fund to offset the costs incurred for economic development activities from other agencies. If approved, it would be effective July 1. Water rate: Would increase from $2.07 to $2.38 per 100 cubic feet over the next five years. The schedule of increases would produce $1.9 million in water fund and $564,000 in water fund cash reserve by 2013. If approved, it would be effective Nov. 1. Water service fee: Would increase at a flat rate of $5 per quarter for most family homes with a one-inch meter. If approved, it would be effective July 1. Waste fee: Would increase $5.40 per year as part of the contract to cover costs of services. If approved, it would be effective July 1.

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