A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsylvania area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
City Council on Monday approved a 2014 budget of $84.4 million that leaves most tax rates the same, but puts about $1.5 million into a contingency fund that may be needed to pay for its recycling program.
Council also voted 6-1 to turn down Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer’s request to switch to a land-value tax that he said would spur economic development.
Councilman Jeffrey S. Waltman Sr. voted for the move, which Spencer had called his signature initiative.
The land-value tax would have lowered the tax rate on each property’s buildings by 20 percent a year until it’s entirely eliminated, but make up for that by raising the tax rate on land.
Sam Rucklewitz, who plans to go to college to learn about politics, got a political lesson on Monday as City Council on a 3-3 vote shot down his appointment to the Charter Review Commission, only to discover he might still be appointed.
Rucklewicz had served on Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer’s campaign and transition committees, and council members Donna Reed, Randy Corcoran and Marcia Goodman-Hinnershitz believed he would give the mayor control of the commission.
The commission is required to be formed once a decade to take a look at how the city’s 1996 home-rule charter is functioning, and to recommend changes. Any changes would require residents’ approval through a referendum.
The charter requires four of the commission’s 11 members to be appointed by the mayor, and seven by council.