The Centralia City Council voted Tuesday, Nov. 26, in favor of a 1 percent property tax increase on the second and final reading after voting to forgo it with a split vote on the first reading.
The vote to increase the property tax by 1 percent, a move that is allowed to be made by council every year without a vote from the people, passed with a 4 to 1 vote.
“I asked what the difference would be to a person owning a $150,000 property. The increase they would see is 92 cents,” said Councilor Rebecca Staebler.
The extra revenue to the city would be about $7,000.
Of the council members present, Councilor Susan Lound voted against the one percent increase and Mayor Lee Coumbs, Rebecca Steabler, Max Vogt, and Joyce Barnes voted in favor.
Barnes had previously voted against taking the 1 percent property tax increase but changed her mind on second reading.
On first reading the vote was split 4 to 3 in favor of not taking the 1 percent increase.
Councilors Peter Abbarno and Cameron McGee, both who voted against the increase on first reading, were absent and excused from the Nov. 26 meeting.
Abbarno was highly critical of the vote in a post to his website, electpeterabbarno.com, following the decision by the council.
He noted that city staff suggested there be no increase and that the city’s budget is balanced and will already increase reserves.
“I am disappointed by the vote, but not surprised,” he wrote. “Councilors Coumbs, Barnes, Staebler and Vogt, have increased taxes in the past, including last year. Actually, this tax has been raised 1 percent the three out of the past four years.”