City of Bainbridge announces tax increase

Published 3:39 pm Monday, July 21, 2014

From Bainbridge Mayor Edward Reynolds

Today, the City has announced its intention to implement a tax increase. This is a step that we take very reluctantly but out of absolute necessity. For the past several years, the City has used best management practices to avoid a tax increase by utilizing our reserves and cutting costs to weather the economic storm. We have drawn on reserves hoping that key revenue streams such as sales tax and franchise fees would recover. To date we have not seen this happen, nor do we expect this to happen in the coming year.

After six years it has become necessary to take this step. While we still have reserves, our auditors have advised us that we are at the low end of healthy. We do not want our city to become fiscally unhealthy, so it is imperative that we face the situation. Although a millage rate increase is our choice of last resort, we have already taken the other steps over the last six years such as reducing our workforce from 185 to 145 employees and by identifying and cutting elective expenditures. We will continue to look for areas of savings but we will not sacrifice the provision of vital services.

I pledge to you as your Mayor and as a fellow taxpayer, that we will operate the City in a business-like manner. A city millage rate of 5.575 is still by far the lowest within the region and where savings are available we will pass them along. We are blessed with a council made up of business people who understand what it means to operate within their means and to balance a budget and meet a payroll. We invite your questions and your comments.