Reedley forced to keep up with inflating prices


The city of Reedley makes the call to increase special property taxes in the city as inflation continues to drive up costs on all fronts

Inflation is on the rise. Adobe Stock

REEDLEY – To keep up with inflating prices while ensuring public services are accounted for in the city, property taxes are swelling up along with everything else.
On par with inflation’s 5.6% uptick, the city of Reedley approved a 5.6% increase on property rates at its March 14 city council meeting. Although the city hasn’t undergone an increase in the last five to six years, assistant city manager Paul Melikian said the city needed to make this determination to ensure fire, police, parks and administration services are maintained for the city.
“We did our best to keep rates frozen for the last five years,” Melikian said. “Although we’re not happy about recommending this fee increase for next year, unfortunately, it’s to combat inflation. We were very reluctant to have to do it this year.”
Until this point, the city did its best to refrain from increasing its community facilities district (CFD) rates and made do with what it had, according to Melikian. CFDs are a special property tax that specifically funds public services and infrastructure, which the city has used to pay for its public safety and park services since 2005.
In prior years, when inflation was ticking up by two to three percent a year, he said the city would hold back from increasing property tax assessments and brainstorm other means of covering the costs. However, this year’s consumer price index (CPI), which measures changes in consumer prices and is widely used to keep track of inflation, detailed an increase that couldn’t be disregarded.
“After five years of no increases, and then the sixth year of inflation being what it is, it’s just too much to continue to absorb,” Melikian said.
With this increase, a single family home with a current adopted property rate of $963 will go up to $1,016.91 per unit, and multi-family residential housing will go from $717 to $757.14 per unit. These taxes are only paid by property owners, who would see the increase to their CFD assessment on their property tax bill that comes from Fresno County twice a year.
“Property taxes in general, from the county, go up as assessed values go up; so property owners are going to see an increase in property tax anyway because of the assessed values of their properties going up,” Melikian said. “This would just be one more component to their property.”
According to Melikian, this increase will keep public and parks services operating as they have been, and down the line, the tax revenue as a whole will be used to fund new, long-term developments for the city. Although it is still early into the planning process, to keep up with an ever-growing population, the city is looking to add a second fire station, and years down the road, get a new city hall building established. This is because the city’s police department is also running out of space at their current headquarters and, once a new city hall is built, it is planned to expand into the current city hall building.
“Based on some conservative estimates from the state of California, our population’s going to grow by about 7,000 people between now and the year 2035,” Melikian said. “[By then] we’ll be a city of about 30,000 people.”
In addition to public safety infrastructure, Melikian said these taxes help fund the city’s upcoming sports complex. Of the five phases it will take to get the complex all together, he confirmed that the city is preparing to enter its second phase, which will cover the complex’s soccer field and parking space.
Going forward, Melikian said the city is keeping its eye on inflation’s climbing prices along with the rest of the community. This is because, along with everything else, the increases leave a large impact on so much of the city’s budget.
“We are hopeful like everybody else that inflation gets under control and we don’t have to deal with these increasing expenses for everything,” Melikian said.