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City of Bridgeport eyes tax increase

By Austin Jackson | Published Wednesday, August 8, 2018
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While property values are on the rise, a shortfall in sales tax revenue could result in an increased tax rate in Bridgeport.

During a budget workshop last week, Bridgeport Finance Director Mike Halsema reported a $100,000 shortfall from its budgeted sales tax revenue.

“We projected we were going to receive about $1.4 million in sales tax this year, and I don’t think we’re going to hit that. There’s $100,000 of lost revenue and with a budget as small as ours, that’s actually pretty big,” Halsema said. “The increase in property values wasn’t enough to offset that.”

To make up the lost funds, Halsema proposed increasing the property tax rate by half a penny from 63.9 cents to 64.4 cents and raising the water and sewage service rates.

Based on property values, Halsema said the suggested tax rate should cost Bridgeport residents, on average, an additional $7 for the year.

“It’s an increase, but not a massive one,” he said. “We’ve maintained the old rate for a while.”

The city is considering a 5 percent increase of its water and sewage rates, Halsema said. If approved, increased rates will go into effect in October.

Halsema also reported the city is doing its due diligence on an electric rate study and so far, there’s indications rates will go down.

“We’re in the middle of our electric rate study, and we’re anticipating rates will go down,” Halsema said. “We’ll have consultants back on Aug. 13 for some of the rate options.”

The existing electric contract is slated to run until December. The updated rates, which Halsema described as ‘favorable’ will go into effect in January.

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