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Wed, Jan. 22

Tax hike may go to Prescott voters this week
Could set election for Aug. 29 to vote on .75 percent increase

PRESCOTT — A sales tax increase could be among the issues Prescott voters decide on Aug. 29, if the Prescott City Council opts to set a special election this week.

At its 1 p.m. study session, and again at its 3 p.m. voting session, Tuesday, Jan. 24, the council will consider whether to take a sales tax increase to the voters in August as a method of reducing the city’s unfunded liability with the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS).

A city memo notes that a council Strategic Plan Committee considered five options for helping to pay down the PSPRS liability.

Among the options were: a business tax; a property tax increase; an increase in city water and sewer rates; a 0.75-percent increase in sales tax; and a 0.75-percent sales tax increase combined with elimination of the city’s portion of the property tax.

Other options suggested by council members and local residents also are expected to be discussed at the 1 p.m. study session.

During its 3 p.m. voting session, the council will face a possible vote on which of the options to pursue, and whether to call a special election on Aug. 29. Because it would occur on the same date as the city’s primary, there would be no additional cost to the special election.

The city memo added: “Choosing an option to pay down PSPRS unfunded liability would coincide with continuing to work with the State Legislature and other cities to push for continued reform above and beyond what was done last year for (a new PSPRS tier of employees) Tier 3 going forward.”

In other action, the council will:

• Consider a lease agreement for placement of a Verizon Cell Tower and ground-mounted equipment at a city water-tank site at 2551 Copper Basin Road, and consider a special use permit for the installation of the cell tower.

• Conduct a public hearing and consider a proposed land-use change from industrial to commercial on about five acres of land at 519 Miller Valley Road to allow for a 70-unit workforce-housing apartment complex.

• Recognize Glenn Savona for 27 years of service as the city prosecutor in the city’s legal department, and – in separate action – appoint Savona as Prescott City Judge.

• Consider authorizing the city to file a petition for an “en banc” review of a recent ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal in the Pure Wafer v. City of Prescott lawsuit.

A city memo explains that the Court of Appeals recently ruled in favor of the city in contract clause matter, but in a two-judge majority, ruled against the city a breach-of-contract matter.

The case involves a lawsuit filed against the city by the Pure Wafer company over pre-treatment standards for wastewater from the Pure Wafer plant.

Based on the issues raised by the dissenting judge in the breach of contract matter, the city’s legal department is suggesting the en banc review, which would involve a rehearing.

The en banc petition would involve a cost of about $25,000 to $35,000, which would come from the city’s wastewater treatment fund, according to a city memo.

Follow Cindy Barks on Twitter @Cindy_Barks. Reach her at 928-445-3333, ext. 2034.

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