Oro Valley tax increase sought over budget woes

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ORO VALLEY, Ariz. -- A rough economy coupled with state budget cuts has the town of Oro Valley facing tough decisions.

Town leaders have already cut millions from the budget and Wednesday night a tax increase is on the table.

"If we did nothing, we'd only survive for another year or so," said Mayor Satish Hiremath.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath believes the time for new taxes is now.

"They are necessary," said Mayor Hiremath.

Wednesday night the council considered a utility sales tax increase from 2 to 4% to raise $1.3 million of much needed revenue.

They mayor says without the tax, the Oro Valley citizens there know, would change.

"It would be a drastic difference because, in essence, we'd have to find $1.3 million of cuts," said Hiremath.

The mayor says those cuts just aren't possible.  The town's already seen a 21% reduction in service over the last three years.

"Right now we are very close to cutting into core services," said Hiremath.

In Wednesday night's packed meeting, most citizens demanded even more cuts.

"This is typical of government," said an Oro Valley resident.  "We're taxed enough already, and they're not getting the message," said another.

But the mayor says they get it.

"We definitely understand that, but what people forget is we're also local residents. The same taxes affect us, the same cuts affect our households too," said Hiremath.

With this new tax, council members say your utility tab will see a $6 increase.

Plus the council will consider increasing park fees and liquor license fees.

"I think they'll understand," said Hiremath.

But people may not be as understanding as he thinks.

"I think utility tax is a scam from day one," said a resident.  "We're taxed every which way and government doesnt know how to cut back," said another resident.

The town has until June 25 to approve and finalize its budget.