Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sales Tax Political Discussion Chronology

[From media and eyewitness reports] 2002-03: The City settles a 1984 Utility lawsuit and loses 700+ electric customers- and over $1 milliion in annual revenue. Apr 2003: A City owned Broadband Cable TV System is proposed as a possible replacement for the lost revenue. Aug 2003: As an alternative to a just proposed 4% lodging tax, former Councilman Jones advocates a sales tax instead as being "more fair." May 2004: The Mayor says his goal is to seek new revenue sources-- ie. Broadband Cable. Dec 2004: Broadband Cable is voted down. Sighting the high financial risks involved--by a 3-2 vote the Council decided not to borrow $14 million to build a City owned Broadband Cable TV System-- based on the "model" Newnan Ga. system. Soon thereafter, then Councilman Christenberry suggested looking at the safer sales tax instead; but Councilor Quinn opined that it doesn't mean a sales tax is necessary-- just because Broadband failed. Aug. 2005: The Mayor says hard decisons will have to soon be made without new revenue streams and Councilman Stankoski mentions increased ad valorem taxes, user/business fees, and a sales tax as possible alternatives. Jan. 2006: Councilman Stankoski formally proposes a 2% sales tax saying, "We need to be more pro-active" and, "The sales tax issues has to be addressed." Feb. 2006: The Mayor comments the city's rapid growth is outpacing its' utility revenues. Mar. 2006: The Mayor urges the Council to make a decision on the proposed 2% sales tax saying, "We've done everything but the sales tax." Councilman Ford expresses his conditional support, if procedes were earmarked for recreation. May 2006: Council President Bob Gentle pulls the planned sales tax discussion from the Council agenda--reportedly over political concerns that the public would blame it (sales tax) on the new library and Wal-Mart (both controversial and then under construction). Apr. 2008: Newnan Ga.'s City Cable/Broadband Fails. This city's system--promoted as the "model" for Fairhope's by its local proponents--failed as the housing bubble began to burst and was sold to a private investment company. PUBLISHER"S NOTE: The former Newnan Ga. city-owned system is now called NULINK. See their website. Aug. 2008: Most municipal election candidates express serious concern about the City's financial health during the campaign. Mar. 2009: A 2% sales tax is proposed by the Finance Committee (Mayor suggested a 1.5%) and is placed on the agenda by Council President Quinn. (A "Town Hall" public hearing is scheduled for Mar. 30)


LeroyB said...

at least we had sense enough not to go into the cable tv business. things would be a lot worse now if we had (debt)

Marcus said...

This is my opinion, which I expressed to the Mayor today.

Mayor Kant,

I've begged for a city sales tax for years. I am thrilled that finally, now that things are reaching crisis point, the city is willing to actually talk about it. I am utterly embarrassed that the city has built a recreation center that it can't even afford to staff. I have been very excited about the new facility, and would love to be playing on the racquetball court every day. But, it can't even open because there is no staff.

Fairhope has always been about "quality of life." Parks, recreation, downtown flowers, the tree lighting, etc., etc., are what MAKE Fairhope. A portion of the sales tax should be devoted to these aspects of the city.

A sales tax is wonderful, because much of the money provided to the city to spend on continued enhancement to the city comes from non-residents. I don't know of a tourist anywhere who doesn't expect to pay a sales tax.

Please don't let the constant terror regarding any sort of change present in many of the city leaders win out again. Fairhope needs income, and this is certainly the most logical way of raising it.

Thank You.

Anonymous said...

too much politics, not enough leadership

Anonymous said...

Tim Kant is a liar and a hypocrite.
The king of the flip flop.