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At a regular meeting of the City Council, held on January 10th, 1961, there were present: <br /> <br />R. Irvine Smith, Jack P. S araea, W. R. Bree~love, W.T. Leafy, R.B. Seward, <br />George Re Walker, H. E. Weiseman, A.P. Johnson,Jr., City Manager, and J.S,Livesay,Jr., <br />City Attorney. <br /> <br />The meeting was opened with prayer by Mr. Leafy, <br /> <br />proved° <br /> <br />Minutes.'.ofLt~e regu~l~r meeting of the Council, held on December 27th, <br />The following communications from the City Manager were read: <br /> <br />1960 were read and ap- <br /> <br /> 61-1 - "I submit the attached ordinance and recommend that it be placed on first reading. <br />This-ordinance establishes s real estate tax of $2.50 per hundred and a personal property tax of $2.75 per hun <br />dred for the year 1961. <br />While I have not recommended any increase in the tax rate, I feel I should call to <br />the attention of the Council the necessity for additional revenue if the City is to operate on a balanced budge~. <br /> Due To the inequities in the present assessments , I do not think it fair to increase <br />the tax raze at this time, Serious consideration musz be given to ways and means of producing sufficient revenue <br />until such time as a proper assessment has been completed. I would suggest ~h~t studies be made of the Utility <br />Tax, Trash and Ga~rhage Collection fee and any other methods that will distri~d%e the requirements on a fair and <br />equal basis. <br /> I feel that inunediate attention should be given this matter by the Council." <br /> <br />On motion of Mr. Breedlove, the following ordinance was approved on first reading, and by the <br /> <br />following vote: <br /> <br />"AN ORDINANCE I~5~OSING AND COLLECTING TAXES ON REAL ESTATE, TANGIBLE <br />PERSONAI~ PROi~ERTY AND MACRINERY WITHIN THE LIMITS OF ~HE CITY'OF PORTS- <br />MOUTH, VIRGINIA, FOR THE PURPOSE OF RAISING REVENUE FOR THE SUPPORT OF <br />THE GOVERNMENT AND THE PUBLIC FREE SCHOOLS AND TO PAY I~I'EREST AND SINK- <br />ING FU}{D ON 'rn~ PUBLIC DEBT FOR THE YEAR BEGINNING JANUARY l, 1961. <br /> <br />Ayes: Smith, Barnes, Bresdlove, Leafy, Seward, Weiseman <br />Nays: Walker. <br /> <br />Mr. ~alker read the following szatement: <br /> <br /> "Mr. President, I would like to read back several excerpts from the commenzs which I read <br /> .I <br />into the record on December 27, 1960, during the final action on the Annual Assessmenz ordinance. These ex - <br />cerpts are pertinent to the t~x levy ordinance before us now. Quoze: 'Chapter 17, Section 58-844 of the Code <br />of Virginia is quoted 'The Council of every city and town shall annually cause to be made up and entered on <br />their journals a~ account of all sams lawfully chargeable on the City or Town which ought to be paid within one <br />year and order a city or town levy of so much as in their opinion is necessary ~o be raised in that way in addi- <br />tion to what may be received for licenses and from other sourses;...' *~By tying the estimate of cost of next <br />year's government to the levy this law carries out the basic concept of free government - that the citizens <br />will tax themselves ~o provide the necessary funds for their government - that their elected representatives are <br />responsible for levying taxes to defray the appropriations which they have made. A check of the record of our <br />tax rates v. our reveuue from real property, our appropriations and our bonded debt, proves beyond doubt that we <br />have wilfully circumvented both the concept and the lsw~ Under City Manager Vass and his councils, the date <br />for approving the budget was moved six months away from the date setting the raze, thereby moving that politi- <br />cally hot potato zo the point farthest away from the budget date, and emasculating it to the status of mere <br />formality: The wrong, the illegal, but safe, side of a two-sided equation was used to produce revenue - to the <br />consternation of a public zgnorant of either the need, or the deed:' (Un quote) <br /> Request City Clerk spread the following comments on the record: <br /> Section 15-575 of the Code of Virginia provides that 'at least 30 days pr~or to the <br />time when the annual tax levy is made, the Board of Supervisors or the Councils of the cities and towns shall <br />prepare,..' Unquoze. From that point on the Special session of the General Assembly w~ecked the Section, BUT, <br />no change in the above language, no change in the basic concept - know what is needed - set the rate to get :ti <br /> Chapter IV, Section 32 of our Charter provides 'for the execution of its powers an~i <br />duties, the City Council may raise annually, by taxes and assessments in said City, such sums as they shall deem <br />necessary to defray the expenses of and for the purposes of said City.' Our Charter provides only annually,not <br />twice annually - once by assessments and once by rate, not July, not January. <br /> Section 8-1, titled Fiscal Year, of the City Code provides 'The fiscal year for the <br />City shall begin on the first day of July of each year.' <br /> Section 8-11, titled Adoption of annual ~ax ordinance, of our City Code provides 'The <br />Council shall, at the first regular meeting in January of each year, or as soon thereafter as practicable, adopt <br />a t~ ordinance, which shall specify the amount of per annum tax which is ~o be levied...' <br /> These ~wo sections of the City Code are incompatible. The combined effect is contrary <br />to the whole concept of governmenz by law and not men - contrary to the word and intent of the State Constitu- <br />tion and Code - detrimental to the life, property and solvency of the taxpayers. <br /> It is proposed tonight that we carry out a .part of the requirements of the law by <br />setting the levy, ignoring all other inseparable parts of that law. <br /> We are asked to take that action six months, and many question marks, away from the <br />1961-62 annual budget! We are asked to take that action in almost complete ignorance of the facts and in de - <br />fiance of the stipulations of the law which clearly states that the action shall be based on a knowledge of the <br />necessary funds.$~/~o~erate the government ~or the coming year: <br /> The SE~O rate per annum recommended by the Manager is placed before us for approval <br />completely devoid of even~the flimsiest support. The Manager has aoz provided us with even a calculation sup- <br />porting the solvency of the present budget, has not provided us with even an estimate of the revenue necessary <br />zo operate the government beginning July 1, 1961, has not advised this body, even when formally requested, as <br />~o the effects of the many and large special appropriations made during the last szx months upon our financial <br /> <br /> I can no~ support the proposed tax ordinance because it is unlawful, because its pas- <br />sage az this time is out of phase, unreasonable and illogical, and because its purpose and effect serves mainly <br />to remove from Council the duty and responsibility for levying the necessary taxes." <br /> <br /> <br />