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Lulas holiday gift: No property taxes, again
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Hearing that the Lula City Council decided to eliminate property taxes sounds like a dream to some.

But to city residents, it’s reality.

The council rolled back its millage rate to zero at Monday’s meeting, which has become somewhat of a tradition over the last few years.

"We evaluate every year," said City Manager Dennis Bergin. "We actually set a millage rate."

Lula receives revenue from a number of areas, including sales taxes and franchise fees, to fund the city government.

"The first reason we do that is the commitment the council has made to maintain our costs within our means," Bergin said.

The council sets a millage rate to use if necessary, but hasn’t needed to use it to collect property taxes for a number of years.

"The next step is the philosophy the council has adopted. They will provide services and if it costs us a dollar, the constituents pay us a dollar for that service. It’s even," Bergin said.

"It lessens the burden on, say, property taxes, and it makes you very conservative in your approach on everything, and that’s what we’ve continued to do."

But some economic factors nearly stopped the city from rolling back its millage rate this time.

Earlier this year when fuel prices were at about $4 a gallon, Bergin said the city thought it might have to send out tax bills. It was able to avoid doing so when gasoline prices fell rapidly in recent weeks.

And though governments everywhere are feeling pressure from the slumping economy, Bergin said Lula aims to avoid sending out tax bills for as long as possible.

Bergin said property taxes are always an option the council keeps on the table.

"So far we’ve continued to be successful," Bergin said. "It won’t last forever, but even then the philosophy is the right one. At some point in time, we’ll have to increase the service level."