City says let tax agreement expire

City says let tax agreement expire

February 9th, 2011 by Cliff Hightower in News

Mayor Ron Littlefield said Tuesday he wanted to see the city and county sales tax agreement expire and then craft a completely new plan.

"I will not recommend we renew it," Littlefield said.

The comments came after the City Council met Tuesday in a two-hour budget session where they talked extensively about the sales-tax agreement, which is set to expire on June 30. Records show there could be an additional $10.5 million coming into city coffers annually if the agreement expires.

Littlefield said he thinks an entirely new plan is needed to address changes in the county and city since the agreement was first made in 1965.

County Mayor Jim Coppinger said he disagreed.

"My intention is to get an agreement before this one expires," he said.

Coppinger said the county and city finance staff have met recently for a preliminary discussion. He said he doesn't want the county and the city to "miss a beat" on the sales tax agreement.

Littlefield said he expects the city and county to be discussing the sales tax agreement "for the next year."

Councilwoman Deborah Scott, who is leading the city's efforts on the agreement, said she made the recommendation to the mayor on letting the agreement expire. She said there are too many differences between how taxes are received now compared to 1965.

"We need a fresh start," she said.

Scott, along with Chief Financial Officer Daisy Madison, made presentations to the council Tuesday showing tax collections of the municipalities and the county. Scott said the council also talked briefly about educating the public on the sales tax agreement.

The city has posted a legal notice saying it is looking for a public relations firm. She said an educator or education firm also would suffice. She said the council talked about each member also going into their districts and educating their constituents.

The council also talked about term limits Tuesday during a legal and legislative committee meeting. Scott brought up the proposal of limiting council members to two terms.

The measure died from a lack of support from other council members.

Staff writer Dan Whisenhunt contributed to this story.


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