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Tax increase?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Thayer city residents could decide if tax will pay for economic developer

THAYER -- Residents in the city of Thayer may once again have the opportunity to vote on a half-cent sales tax to fund an economic developer in the near future.

Thayer Community Betterment Association (TCBA) board member Dennis Redmon was at the July 11 Thayer City Council meeting to address the council regarding placing the tax on an election ballot in the future. He said the TCBA wants the tax to generate funds to hire an economic developer for the city.

Redmon said he was representing the TCBA and not any other organization.

"The TCBA is a cross section of the residents of this community. The mayor and president of the Thayer Chamber of Commerce are permanent members of the nine-member TCBA board," Redmon said.

Redmon told the council he has seen the benefits of an economic developer in the past.

"We had an economic developer in the city for about three years. We feel like it is important not to lose sight of that," he said.

Redmon also said the TCBA suggests the city do away with personal and property taxes in the city.

"We would appreciate the city's help in coming up with the details concerning the issue," he said.

Redmon said a half-cent tax would generate enough funds to hire an economic developer.

Alderman Mike Harber said if the tax should be placed on the ballot it would be better to wait until the April 2007 election to do so.

The issue was first brought to the attention of the council last year by the TCBA. A half-cent sales tax was placed on the November 2005 ballot and turned down by the voters.

In early spring 2006 the TCBA again approached the council asking them to place the tax issue on the April election ballot. The council never voted on the issue.

The city's current 1-cent sales tax has been in effect since 1982. The tax generated $430,452 in 2005.

If a tourist spends $1 they will pay a 6-cent tax. On a purchase of $100 they pay $6.23 in taxes. If the issue is placed on the ballot and passes, the tax on $1 would jump to 7 cents. On a $100 purchase the tax would be $6.73, an addition of 50 cents.

The council did not vote on Redmon's request but agreed to meet with the Thayer Chamber of Commerce to discuss placing the issue on the ballot in April 2007.

Oregon County Deputy Clerk Kim Hollis said any issue to be placed on the November ballot would have to be certified in the clerk's office no later than Aug. 29. She said an issue on the April 3, 2007, ballot would have to be certified by Jan. 23. Oregon County Clerk Gary Hensley said an issue has to be certified 10 weeks prior to the election.

In other Thayer council action, the council voted unanimously to raise the rate a person hooking up for water service in the city will pay from $190 to $300.

Deckard opened two bids received at City Hall for miscellaneous scrap metal accumulated by the city. The first bid was for $200 from Thomas Brown and the second bid was for $702 from G&T Recycling in Thayer. The board voted to accepted the bid from G&T Recycling.

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