It took several months of back and forth discussion between the Star Valley council and town manager, but the town has finally come to a resolution regarding its 2-percent rental tax.
Not wanting to become the only town in Arizona without the tax, and possibly losing $41,000 in revenue, the council voted against abolishing the tariff at Tuesday night’s council meeting.
The council originally wanted to remove the 2-percent residential rental tax because they felt it unfairly taxed low-income residents, many of which live in trailer parks and struggle to pay rent.
The money from the tax, which was set aside to fund a police department, was no longer needed because of an agreement with the county. Therefore, several councilors questioned why the town needed the tax.
At first, Town Manager Tim Grier told the council it could draft an ordinance removing the rental tax but keep the commercial and lodging taxes in place. For the first six months of 2009, those taxes brought in $25,000.
Upon further research, Grier determined that if the council removed the rental tax, it would also have to eliminate the commercial rental and bed taxes.
Currently all cities or towns in Arizona have that tax code in place.
Councilor Barbara Hartwell said removing the tax was a bad idea.
“I don’t think we can afford to give it up,” she said.
In a five to two vote, the council decided against eliminating the tax. Councilors Gary Coon and George Binney opposed the motion.
In other council news, Star Valley’s streets will look a little nicer after the council approved purchasing a lawnmower.
The Streets and Roads crew currently uses hand tools and weed whackers to clear weeds and grass from the side of roadways. The new, $3,800 Kawasaki lawnmower, will expedite the process and clear the crew up to work on other projects around town.
The council also approved purchasing a $6,100 Grizzly, which is used to separate granite.