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Tentative millage set at 6.0708

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By Carolyn Ten Broeck, Editor

Leaving itself some wiggle room, the Williston City Council voted Tuesday night 4-1 to set the FY 2013-2014 millage at 6.0708 mills.
Council President Jason Cason was the lone dissenter, telling his peers before the vote, “I do not want to entertain a rate higher than last year.”
But the other four councilmen, led by Charles Goodman, believed the council should afford itself a small cushion during the final days of budget preparation.
That’s because once a tentative millage rate is set, a government body can lower it but it cannot increase it.
The final millage rate will be decided in late September once all the revenues and expenses have made their way to the hands of Stephen Bloom and Scott Lippmann, who are preparing the budget.
Goodman pointed out with the current rate, the city had dipped almost $350,000 into the reserves in order to maintain a balanced budget.
But Cason countered that the money in reserve had been put there for the exact intent it was being spent.
“It’s not like we’re dipping into the kitty,”  he said.
Williston property values are down slightly this year, therefore should the millage rate increase, the amount a resident pays in actual taxes would be about the same as this year.
But Cason was adamant that he would not favor a higher tax rate.
He said the council members had all agreed that they didn’t want a higher millage rate.
“If that’s so,” he said, “pass the old rate which leaves you no option.”
But the motion, made by Goodman, to adopt the higher rate passed with Cason vehemently opposing.
The council will meet again July 30 at 7:30 p.m. to continue hammering out the budget, which will include a 5 percent pay increase for employees.