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Originally published Thursday, July 11, 2019 at 03:46p.m.

CLARKDALE – In addition to proposing a leap in its property taxes, the Town of Clarkdale is also moving ahead with plans to increase the local sales tax rate rates and to add or increase several transaction or service fees.

At Tuesday’s regular monthly voting meeting, the Clarkdale Town Council approved an “intent to increase” action on several items. Notices to increase the local sales tax rate, to add a credit-card surcharge and to increase a series of utility and engineering fees and rates will be published in legal announcements later this month, with public hearings to be held thereafter.

The moves come at the same time the town is moving ahead with a 1.96 percent real estate property tax increase, that will be used to generate about $24,000 in new tax revenue.

Longtime Clarkdale Mayor Doug Von Gausig told the Independent there aren’t many ways for the city to generate revenue to cover expenses such as major street and road upgrades.

Clarkdale voters rejected a street improvement bond in 2018.

“Smaller Arizona municipalities don’t have many tools to use for large infrastructure projects,” Von Gausig said.

A Truth in Taxation mandated meeting, regarding the proposed property tax increase, is set for Tuesday in the Men’s Lounge at the Clarkdale Community Center.

Also approved Tuesday was upcoming publication of the sales tax increase proposal, which would go from 3% to 3.5%. Von Gausig said he hasn’t had many proprietors bring this up to him, and he hasn’t received negative feedback on the proposal.

Fees and fee increases moved forward at Tuesday’s meeting are meant to cover rising costs.

Public Works/Utilities Director Maher Hazine presented the proposed utilities increases. The water and sewer connection fees are among the steepest, in terms of percentage. The charge for connecting a 5/8-inch to 1-inch meter will jump from $500 to $1,275; the charge for connecting a 2-inch meter would go from a current charge of $1,150 to $2,350.

The water “turn-on” and “turn-off” fees would double, from $25 to $50. Hazine said in cases where a move-out by a renting party will automatically revert service into the landlord’s name will depend on whether each landlord has such an agreement with the town.

Even cemetery plot charges have proposed increases, going forward. A half lot would double, while a Verde half lot would cost $1,200.

Trash fees will remain mostly the same, as the bid from Patriot Disposal matched up with the town’s fees. There will only be a slight increase for the few dozen customers who pay for more than two curbside containers.

Also approved Tuesday was a resolution amending zoning chapters to account for a temporary uses procedure. Planning Manager Beth Escobar said the purpose of the new provisions are to close gaps not already covered in any type of city ordinance and she took questions on the resolution and what types of requests it will cover.

Von Gausig discussed environmental testing of the Verde River in the Clarkdale area, specifically mandated testing for the E coli. He said tests before and after the heavy recreation use over the Fourth of July week and weekend, revealing minor increases in the presence of the bacteria. He said the heavy flooding over the winter swept away many of the refugia that tend trap the E Coli.

Several Councilors and the mayor thanked everyone who volunteered or helped with the town’s Fourth of July celebrations and recent block parties, which help forge a positive spirit of community. Thirteen new Clarkdale Historical Society memberships were paid for at the event; Councilman Scott Buckley joked about the highly technical requirements for spatulas used in the Clarkdale Police Department’s pancake breakfast.

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