COLONA -- City council members Monday voted 8-0 to raise next year's property tax levy by nearly 20 percent, from $367,837 to $441,405, despite some residents saying taxes are so high they may move.
The hike would raise taxes about $40 on a home with a market value of $100,000.
Gary Brakeman asked why the state was so far behind in payments to the city and suggested austerity measures such as those in Europe are in order. Because Colona hasn't attracted significant business, he said, it's "always going after the private individual."
"I'm getting out of this town because I cannot afford to live here anymore," he said. "I can buy a beautiful home with a swimming pool in Florida for a heck of a lot less than I'm paying here."
Steve Anderson suggested the city delay plans such as buying the former Smokey's restaurant at 709 1st St. After a closed session Monday night, council members voted 8-0 to buy the property for $60,000 with hopes of attracting a new business.
Former alderman Don Ropp said he if was a member now, he would vote against the tax hike. He called it a "shock and burden on the public."
He also said the housing development in the tax-increment-financing district didn't help the city, and having Erik Jones build his new showroom outside the city limits was a "missed opportunity and a mistake."
Robert Edwards suggested the canal be dredged in an effort to attract a bait shop or other business. He said making a paycheck stretch was "a struggle more than it ever has been."
"I can barely afford to buy meat, and it's just getting old," he said."We need to challenge ourselves to find revenue in another way. If it keeps going like this way much longer, I will find a community that's more sustainable for me."
Mayor Danny McDaniel said the council disliked higher taxes but also was concerned about public safety.
"I don't really want to jeopardize the safety of the community by eliminating officers," he said. "Do I want to pay it? Heck no. But the only other solution I know of is to cut services."
Not everyone opposed the tax increase. Chris Wells, who said he owns two homes and was "not real happy" about higher taxes, said Colona hadto dig itself out of a hole, "and I'm willing to pay my part."
The council also:
* Abated $123,237 in taxes from general obligation waterworks and sewerage bonds issued in 2004. The bonds were refinanced earlier this year to save about $80,000.
* Approved the sale of two squad cars.
* Approved a $1,500 contract with Shive Hattery for professional engineering services at the sewage treatment plant to advise updates and a timetable over the next 20 years.
* Canceled the Dec. 26 meeting. Thenext regular council meeting will be Jan. 14.
Today is Saturday, April 19, the 109th day of 2014. There are 256 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: Miss McCorkindale has opened millinery rooms over Gimbel's dry goods store, where she offers a choice lot of millinery goods, which she will manufacture to order. 1889 -- 125 years ago: The little South Park Presbyterian chapel celebrated it first Easter decorated with flowers for an afternoon worship service attended by a large congregation. 1914 -- 100 years ago: The Wennerberg Chorus of Augustana College has returned from a 2,000-mile tour in the Eastern states and Illinois. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Col. Charles Lindbergh has stated that he is convinced that Germany's air force is equal to the combined sky fleets of her potential European foes. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Small gas motors may be permitted on boats in the lake to be built in Loud Thunder Forest Preserve. The prospect was discussed yesterday at a meeting of the Rock Island County Forest Preserve Commission. 1989 -- 25 years ago: The annual Dispatch/Rock Island Argus Spelling Bee continues to be a family tradition. Ed Lee, an eighth-grader at John Deere Junior High School, Moline, is the 1989 spelling bee champion from among 49 top spellers in Rock Island, Henry and Mercer counties. He advances to the competition in Washington, D.C. Runnerup was Ed's sister, Susan.