Mayor Rusty Jessup asked the council to consider raising the town’s sales tax from nine percent to 10 percent.
“Given the economic shortcomings of the town’s income, I think it’s only reasonable that we at least consider revenue resources,” he said. “Our town is sandwiched between two larger cities, both charging 10 percent sales tax.”
Jessup said he was putting the issue out for the council’s consideration.
“This small of an increase will not fix our income problems, but in trying to be good managers and keep the town services afloat, I think we would not be fulfilling our fiduciary responsibilities if we did not at least consider this.”
Jessup said a one-percent tax increase would equate to approximately $12,000 extra annual income.
“I think getting sewer to potential commercial areas and improving our tax base would have a bigger impact than raising taxes one percent,” Councilman Rob Hayes said.
Councilman David Todd and a Riverside resident also spoke out against a tax increase.
“I don’t know of anything else to do to raise revenue except cut services,” Jessup said.
Hayes said the town’s best bet would be to attract commercial businesses.
“We need to get sewer to the commercial areas to make them viable,” he said.
Councilman Jimmy Hollander said he doesn’t believe providing sewer to potential commercial areas alone would solve the problem.
“You got to have enough rooftops and traffic to support a business, such as a fast food restaurant,” he said. “You have to have the people to support it.”
The council also provided general agreement to a wording change in the town’s fire fees ordinance.
“We are rewriting the ordinance to fix unclear language,” Jessup said.
Jessup said the current ordinance establishes mandatory fire fees in the police jurisdiction.
“The rewording clarifies that those fire fees are mandatory in both the police jurisdiction and the town city limits,” he said.
Jessup said the fire fees themselves would remain unchanged.
“I will have our attorney look over the ordinance and bring it back before the council,” he said.
The council took no action on the fire fees ordinance at Tuesday’s meeting.
Contact Elsie Hodnett at email@example.com.