Burton officials consider tax increase

It's the City of Burton's turn to figure out how to balance the books, faced with rising legacy and pension costs, and officials are considering raising taxes to do it.

The council met Tuesday night for a budget workshop. Officials say they are taking out about $959,000 from the 2013-2014 budget.

The city's biggest expense is the police department, which is burdened with legacy and retirement costs.

Some council members pointed out it's time to look at a tax increase. Burton has been operating on 4.7 mills in property taxes since 1972. Officials say a city of Burton's size has 18 mills on average.

Councilman Vaughn Smith said, "If we inform them as to what their options are I don't believe [a tax increase] will be a hard sell.â??

â??Unfortunately, we're still operating at the costs we were back in '72 in providing these services, so I look at it as a city as a whole issue. We've gotta do something,â?? Burton Police Chief Tom Osterholzer said.

City officials are also looking to fill two police positions and add four police officers next year. City council is expected to vote on the 2013-2014 budget next Monday. The city must submit a budget to the state before the July 1 start of the fiscal year.