- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—ASOTIN — The Asotin City Council tackled taxes and transportation improvements at its Monday night meeting.

Following a public hearing, the council approved a ballot measure that would raise $42,000 through an increase of 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation. If voters give the proposal the green light, the money would be dedicated to street repairs.

Greg Hile of Asotin was disappointed only two residents spoke to the council about the proposed tax hike. Hile said he moved to Asotin in 2008, and his property taxes have gone up more than 30 percent.

“No one in this room has gotten a 30 percent pay increase in those seven years,” he said. “I think there are some other things that need to be addressed, such as the difference between someone who takes care of their property and someone who doesn’t.”

Residents who take care of their homes are taxed at a higher valuation, Hile said. Assessments should be based on square footage instead of penalizing people who keep their property in good shape.

Mayor Vikki Bonfield said the city doesn’t have any control over what the county assessor does. In addition, only a small amount of property tax revenue winds up in city coffers.

“My personal thought is people who take care of their property should be taxed less than people who don’t, but that’s not how it works,” Bonfield said.

Gloria Basaraba of Asotin also voiced concerns about increasing taxes. Her home is assessed at more than $200,000, which is more than she paid.

Voters will determine the outcome of the year-to-year tax levy, said Councilor Jennifer Bly. A motion to place it on the ballot was approved with a 5-0 vote.

In other city business:

—Geese continue to be a problem at parks and ballfields. The state originally relocated the geese here from Lake Washington, the mayor said, and officials need to help the city deal with the growing population. Bonfield plans to contact state representatives and the governor to address the issue.

—Asotin Days is slated for Aug. 7-9 in the downtown area and volunteers are needed, said Deputy City Clerk Tina Davidson. Activities include a teen dance, Hells Canyon Trailer Trash “glamper” display, car show and parade.

—Asotin officials are meeting with members of the Clarkston Public Safety Committee at 4 p.m. today to discuss District Court. Both entities are exploring what it would cost to establish a municipal court in Asotin, rather than contract with Asotin County for those services. The discussion will be conducted at Clarkston City Hall.

—An upgrade of the Asotin Wastewater Treatment Plant is slated to begin Aug. 17 and should take about a year to complete, said Stillman Norton of Keller Associates. The city received grant funding from U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development for the improvements.

Sandaine may be contacted at [email protected] or (208) 848-2264. Follow her on Twitter

@newsfromkerri.

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(c)2015 the Lewiston Tribune (Lewiston, Idaho)

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