The D.C. City Council gave tentative approval yesterday to increases in local taxes, fees and water and sewer rates that are projected to raise $7.3 million in additional revenue and help offset an expected $110 million deficit in this fiscal year's budget.
The council also approved a bill establishing new boundaries for the city's 37 Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) areas, and the single-member districts within them, to reflect new ward boundaries and the 1980 census. There are about 300 single-member districts, with about 2,000 people each.
The tax increase bill is largely that recommended by Mayor Marion Barry in January, although it contains some compromises. The tax increases should generate $34.1 million in additional revenue next fiscal year.
Barry, who has called the package crucial to financing the city's $1.9 billion fiscal 1984 budget, had threatened to veto that budget because the tax package hadn't been passed. The measure was approved unanimously and with little discussion.
Under the plan, water and sewer rates would nearly triple over the next five years. The average annual residential bill would go from $142 this year to $191 next year, $249 in fiscal 1985. By fiscal 1988, the average annual residential bill would be $394.
The measure would increase the city's gross receipts tax on utilities from 6 percent to 6.7 percent starting in July, raising revenues by $5 million in fiscal 1983 and by $8.2 million in fiscal 1984. These added costs would be passed along to consumers in the form of higher utility rates, which would have to be approved by the Public Service Commission.
Motor vehicle excise taxes and registration fees would be changed from a four-tiered to a two-tiered system. Smaller cars would pay a 6 percent excise tax and a $45 registration fee, while larger cars would have a 7 percent tax and $78 fee. This would increase revenues by $2 million this fiscal year and by $3.4 million next year.
The legislation also would give the mayor the authority to set fees at city clinics on a sliding scale based on a person's ability to pay. Services still would be provided free to those unable to pay, and there would be no charge for services the mayor determines to be in the public interest. The fees are expected to bring in $300,000 in fiscal 1984.
The bill would increase permit fees for the use of public space; license fees for undertakers, architects, plumbers and gas pipefitters, and certification fees for notaries public.
Construction in progress would be taxed, adding an estimated $250,000 this fiscal year and $1 million next year.
The minimum franchise tax and professional license fee on businesses and professionals operating in the District would be raised from $25 a year to $100. This will raise $900,000 in fiscal 1984.
The tax bill is expected to receive final approval on April 26 and then go to the mayor.
Council members, meanwhile, have decided to cap their own salary increases in fiscal 1984 at 5 percent, with Chairman David A. Clarke and 11 other members introducing a bill yesterday to do so.
The raise, due on Oct. 1, may be still less than that, however, because it is tied to the consumer price index for the Washington area, which recently has been increasing at less than 5 percent.
The council members got a 5.3 percent pay increase last Oct. 1, to $53,480 for the chairman and $43,480 for the other 12 members.