Mayor Engen Guarantees Likely Tax Increases, ‘As Long As I Am Mayor’
In a wide-ranging interview, with the hosts of KGVO's "What Do You Know," Mayor John Engen revealed that there will be another tax increase this year, and, if he’s re-elected, more in the years to come.
“As long as I am Mayor, I can almost guarantee you there will be an annual tax increase,” Engen said.
Engen went on to explain that the the increases are driven by municipal employee pay.
"We have contracts with our employees that commit us to paying them more year over year,” Engen said. “Any given year we are going to need give or take a million more bucks to pay people. That is a function of our labor contract. Most of what we pay for at the city of Missoula is labor.”
Mayor Engen was also asked to comment on recent coverage by NBC Montana, which raised concerns about the use of city credit cards to purchase rib-eye steak dinners, ear buds and sandals among numerous other items. Engen inferred that the story was profit-motive driven.
“You’ll find that cities buy a lot of stuff that seems pretty funky and if you don’t put any of it in context you are going to scratch your head a little bit,” said Engen. “This is error speculation on my part. That story looks like a beautiful boiler plate consultant story idea for sweeps week.”
Engen says the credit card analysis hasn’t highlighted anything concerning yet.
“There are human beings in this organization and sometimes they are doing the wrong thing,” said Engen. “In this case, there is nothing that has risen to the level of giving me concern.”
The Mayor did not specify what percentage of tax increase the city of Missoula can expect, but in recent years Engen’s tax increase proposals usually range between three and five percent.