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Story Archives: City council praises tax
|City council praises tax|
Winnsboro city council members and Mayor Jack Hammons reacted to the passage of a one-half penny sales tax in the Nov. 4 election with thankful sighs of relief from immediate budget problems.
Although the winning margin was slim, Hammons considered the passage, "a vote of confidence for this council and this administration."
The vote for the first city sales tax increase since 1968 passed by a vote of 762-735 and pushed the total tax to 10 percent on sales within city limits. The city now receives two percent of the total sales tax with four percent each going to the parish and state.
Polled late last week, councilmen expressed gratitude and looked forward to relief from the pressure of tight budgets.
"I feel really good about it," said Councilwoman Betty Johnson. "Now, we'll be able to help with steady rising costs and have something more to operate with. We're very enthusiastic about it."
The new tax rate goes into effect on Jan. 1 and will be distributed regularly to the city's general fund. A two percent tax on local motel rooms, which passed by a larger margin than the sales tax, is effective the same date but its proceeds are dedicated to community center upkeep.
"We'll have our annual audit review in mid December," Hammons said, "and at that time we'll decide how to budget the increase."
Councilman Craig Gill said, "We're really grateful, considering the economic conditions today. I think we've been good stewards in the past but we had just about reached a point where we couldn't have done any more."
Hammons said, "This spring we should have about $2 million in public improvement projects underway".
Councilman Richard Mahoney also offered public thanks.
"Like I said all along, we should put it before the people. We were in a position where we were having to stretch the budget, but it was still their decision as to what to do."
"You might say it was a necessary evil," suggested Councilman John Dumas. "The city's been operating on an extremely tight budget. This will free us to operate more confidently with meeting our costs.
Hammons also pointed out that the passage came during an uncertain financial time.
"During these times, it's rewarding that people realized we had reached a point where we'd done about all we could do," without the .50 percent sales tax."