Mesa residents could soon pay higher water bills, property taxes - Tucson News Now

Mesa residents could soon pay higher water bills, property taxes

MESA, AZ (CBS5) -

The cost of picking up the trash, using electricity and watering the lawn may soon go up in an East valley community.

The City of Mesa is proposing several rate hikes to help pay for a budget shortfall.

"Times are still tough," said Mesa resident Susan Gardner. "Even a few dollars a month can make a big difference."

"I'm certain it's going to affect people on a fixed income," said Mesa resident Jon Youngs.

During last week's city council meeting, Mesa officials outlined their plan to balance the books.

The city is facing a projected $8.5 million shortfall for fiscal year 2013-14.

One of the big questions residents are asking is: how did the city get into this financial mess in the first place?

Economists said it has a lot to do with the slower than expected economic recovery in Mesa and some old debt from bonds that's built up over the years.

As a result, city leaders are proposing a 2 percent increase in water, sewer and trash collection rates that will jump to a 4.9 percent hike in 2014.

City officials are also requesting a $2.2 million property tax increase, which would add about $10 to the tax bill of every homeowner.

CBS-5 News stopped by the Sweet Cakes Cafe in downtown Mesa to get reaction to the city's proposal to have residents cough up more cash.

Mira Daniels said that she isn't thrilled with the thought of paying more to balance the city's budget, but understands the money has to come from somewhere.

"Of course, nobody wants to pay more, but you know, life is like that," said Daniels. "Sometimes expenses come up and everybody pitches in a little bit."

The Mesa City Council must still approve any increase in fees. A final decision is expected in the next few weeks.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved 

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