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Jan. 29, 2023

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Woodland votes against raising property taxes 1%

Council acts in wake of increase in water, sewer rates


WOODLAND — The Woodland City Council unanimously voted against raising property taxes last week, partly because of rising inflation and what many residents have said is an increase in city water and sewer rates.

The council voted not to increase property taxes by 1 percent in 2023 on Nov. 21, and instead voted to keep the rate at zero percent into the new year. Last year, the council also did not raise property taxes.

Six of the eight council members were in attendance; council member Monte Smith and Mayor Will Finn were not present.

Council member Melissa Doughty said she voted against the tax increase because of the recent economic downturn and questions about the city’s water and sewer bills.

“I just think with everything that is going on with our economy and the water as we are trying to figure it out, I think at this time this is the best action, for our city,” Doughty said.

Council members John Burke and Karl Chapman agreed with her comments.

Residents at the last few council meetings have complained about higher city water and sewer bills. Finn previously said the rates are higher because the city needs to cover water and sewer projects, including fixing its leaking water tower.

The council also voted on Nov. 21 to authorize the city administrator and public works director to apply for a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to replace the city’s asbestos concrete water line, build a new 1.5-million-gallon reservoir and restore filters at the city’s water treatment plant.

City revenue up

In a recap of finances, council member Carol Rounds told meeting attendees “our revenue is up,” thanks in long part to the town’s sales tax and credited “our big box stores and our retail sales,” but could not say which locations.

Woodland is home to a Walmart Supercenter off Interstate 5, plus other chain stores like Ace Hardware and Safeway supermarket, not including the laundry list of small businesses.

Rounds said revenue increased 5 percent in 2022, and 33 percent in 2021. She said Woodland saw $237,000 in sales taxes in September and $188,000 in October.

Retail sales in Woodland are up, but so is the cost of all items, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In October, the department reports the cost of all items, like food, apparel and vehicles, increased 7.7 percent over the last 12 months.