Town Intends to Tax Residents $1.1MM It Already Has From Other Sources

Should the town be taxing residents for money it doesn't need because it already received funding from another source?

Nutshell:

Town wants to tax residents $1.1MM for a specific "high priority" project

but

already has $400k in grants for it

and

is seeking another $600k in grants

Background

$1,050,400 of the town's proposed storm drain tax (of $7.3MM sought) is specifically for a "high priority" project at the Hacienda*.

* it's referred to as CIP 16-201 in town documents and CC04 in the master storm drain plan and fee study documents

Town already has grant funds, seeks more

In July 2016, the town engineer secured $400,000 in grant funds for this project.

Thus, the town doesn't need the amount it seeks to tax residents anew, but really only needs $700,000 at most.

Further, the town engineer is seeking another $600,000 in grant funds, so the town ultimately may only need $100,000 in taxpayer money.

Town won't make adjustments to resident taxes or return excess

No adjustments have been made for the $400,000 already secured nor for the possibility of the additional grant money. The town will not return any excess tax collections nor reduce future storm drain taxes, either.

When asked in public meetings, the town engineer initially stated that if he is able to "save money" by obtaining grants, he will spend the "savings" on "moderate priority" storm drain items, even though those aren't authorized as an intended use of the proposed tax.

During the 2/14 town council meeting, his answer changed to using the "savings" from $400,000 to $1,000,000 in excess taxation to address potential budget overruns on the project. That at least sounds consistent with the intended use of the tax, though it would represent a 35%-90% overrun, and ignores a 38% contingency already built in to the $1,050,400 project.

Put another way:

The town has managed to take a $730,000 project and will extract nearly $1.1 Million from taxpayers while simultaneously grabbing up to $1MM in grant money to fund the same thing.

Links p70 of PDF Storm Drain Master Plan here

p19 of PDF Storm Drain Fee Final Report here

1:10:20 mark of Town Information Session here

Existing and sought grant info here