Puyallup’s rosy financial picture has darkened in 2009, and city officials are looking at ways to save.
But their first move hasn’t been laying off staff or slashing programs: rather, the city is reconsidering $7.8 million in tax cuts that it promised citizens last year.
That’s how much city officials estimated it cost them to run the Puyallup Fire Department before it annexed into Central Pierce Fire and Rescue at the beginning of 2009.
Before voters approved the merger, city officials said that they’d reduce Puyallup’s taxes to offset the loss of the city fire department before 2010, when Central Pierce would begin taxing Puyallup residents for fire service. The City Council passed a motion specifying the amount of the promised tax reduction – approximately 7.8 million – in September 2008 and told residents in the Pierce County Voters Guide that “there would be no ‘double tax’” if voters approved the proposal.
Then the economy tanked.
Now, Puyallup officials want to reduce taxes by less than the $7.8 million total, citing declining city revenues.
“These are tight times,” Mayor Don Malloy said Tuesday. “These are tight times for governments, and these are tight times for families. I think we have to be responsible for both.”