Homeowners can expect to save at least $60 a year beginning July 1, when residents will no longer have to pay a user tax on electricity and water. "After closely monitoring the utility users tax on a quarterly basis, the City Council felt that they could reduce the tax but still retain a high standard of service," Mayor J. Parker Williams said.
Residents will continue to pay user taxes on gas, cable TV and telephone service. Commercial and industrial property owners will still be required to pay taxes on all five utilities.
The city began collecting the 5% utility user tax in 1983 to generate revenue and offset the loss of state and federal funds. Eliminating the tax on electricity and water will cut nearly $514,000 from the $2.7 million a year that the city had received from utility taxes.
The city, which exempted low-income residents from the tax in 1985, will continue to monitor the tax to see whether further reductions can be made for residents and later for businesses, Williams said.