By Matt Davis, The Lens staff writer
The City Council voted six to one this morning to hold an extra meeting on Saturday at 10 a.m. in a dash to approve another property tax increase for the city’s 2011 budget, at the behest of Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
It is highly unusual for the council to meet on a Saturday morning.
Nevertheless, the meeting will be classified as a “regular” meeting under open-meetings law, Council President Arnie Fielkow explained, before introducing an ordinance to amend the council’s regular meeting schedule to include the extra date.
“The basis of this is that under the law we have to take up this particular subject matter at a regular meeting of the city council, and not a special meeting,” Fielkow said.
Ordinances generally have to lie over for two weeks after being introduced before the council can vote, so it’s not clear how council will be able to vote on the new increase on Saturday. It could be that the city attorney considers this an amendment to the Dec. 1 ordinance, by which the council approved the budget, and that the rule does not apply to amendments.
City Attorney Nannette Jolivette-Brown did not return a call seeking clarification on the legal particulars.
The council voted Dec. 1 to increase property taxes by 6.74 mills, but Landrieu’s budget now calls for a 7.74 mill increase, the equivalent of $135 dollars more in property taxes for the owner of a $250,000 home, or $17 more than the increase approved by the council last week.
The change comes after Landrieu balked on a plan to raise the 3 percent tax on parking garages and lots. You can read more on the details from our partners at Fox8 News.
Councilwoman Stacy Head was the lone dissenter on the council because of concerns about further raising property taxes, she said.