On the evening of Aug. 12, Green River City Council held a public hearing to gather comments on the proposed establishment of a property tax on home and business owners. The proposed tax would impose $118.20 per home and $236.40 per business on the residents of Green River. For the tax year 2002, Green River City had no income from property tax. If this measure were to pass, the city would realize $75,000 to do some necessary improvements in the city. This tax increase would add $9.85 monthly to home owners and $19.70 monthly to business owners.
During the course of the public hearing, 14 citizens and business owners made comments. Of the 14, there were only three comments in favor of the new tax. Among the reasons stated in favor of the tax were sidewalk and street improvements, improved curb and gutter and more safety for the children of Green River with the additional sidewalks.
The citizens who were not in favor of the tax increase stated that the tax burden was already too high. Also, many of the residents were concerned for the senior citizens who are living on fixed incomes and cannot afford another tax, no matter how small. With the cost of prescriptions and other necessities, seniors are already strapped, so many felt this would be an unfair levy on the town's elderly residents.
Business owners remarked that they already have extraordinarily high taxes and this increase would push many over their limit. Other comments were that the council should find some other revenue source besides a tax increase. Many felt that the revenue should come directly from the visitors to the city.
Mayor Glen Dale Johnson explained the council's reasoning for the proposal. He said, "From the beginning of the annexation plan, we have expected a certain amount of revenue to come into the city from the county and that revenue has not come. The magic number was 75 percent. We have repeatedly asked for 100 percent of the transient room tax and have been denied. The commissioners told us from the beginning that we would get that money and it hasn't come. We continue to ask for 100 percent and we are expecting 80. Without this TRT money coming in, the town has had to explore other revenue sources for necessities, such as this property tax levy."
When the hearing was completed and the council moved into regular council meeting, the vote arose on this property tax issue. The council voted 3-2 against the proposed tax.