At the Missoula City Council's Committee of the Whole meeting on Wednesday, Mayor John Engen said the expected city tax increase has been neutralized by an increase in the overall tax base of Missoula property.

"Record development is finally starting to show up on the tax rolls and this year, we have an expanded tax base," said Mayor Engen. "The result of that expanded tax base is that the budget you approved which would have increased the taxes by better than three percent, that budget will not only not require a tax increase, but will actually lower taxes in the city of Missoula because of that expanded tax base."

Engen justified the previous tax increase decided upon by the city council.

"We never tried to shine anybody on," he said. "We never tried to pretend that an increase in expenses means we don't have to find revenues to fund those. When the tax base doesn't rise, we find ourselves in the position of raising taxes. I've always said if I had my druthers, I wouldn't raise taxes. Well, I got my druthers."

Engen recommended that the budget itself stay intact and the council move forward with a slight reduction in taxes this year.