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Kalamazoo City Commission approves the 2013 budget over the Mayor's objections.


KALAMAZOO (WKZO) -- The Kalamazoo City Commission has approved the 2013 City Budget but it was not unanimous, and it came with a warning that much tougher times and tougher budgets lie ahead.

Mayor Bobby Hopewell and Commissioner David Anderson could not go along with the way a 1% tax handling fee was introduced, saying there was too little citizen input on the issue. Both say with serious revenue shortfall’s projected in the years ahead, they need to start engaging the public now if they want a smooth transition.

But the other commissioners say the 1% fee is a nominal sum and the city really needs the additional 300-thousand dollars It will raise to avoid additional service cuts. It will cost a homeowner with a $100-thousand dollar home less than $10 a year.

Vice-Mayor Hannah McKinney says most people don’t understand all the services the city provides or how much it costs and she predicts that there will be more complaints as they are forced to cutback more and more in the future, but for now this budget holds the line on city services. She says it may be the last one that does.

The final vote was 5 to 2. The 1% fee was approved and will be added to future tax bills.This year’s 144-thousand dollar budget spends 7% less than last years budget, and they had to dip into reserves to balance it.