Lepanto city council votes to put tax raise on ballot
At the regular monthly meeting on Tuesday night, the Lepanto City Council voted to put a half-cent sales tax raise on a ballot for residents to vote on, due to their recent water line issues. The council has searched for a way to pay for the replacement of the 13,000 feet of galvanized water lines, some of which date back to the 1920s.
Last Monday, in an attempt to achieve a consensus within the town, a public meeting was held at the courtroom of the Lepanto City Hall. Mayor Steve Jernigan said about 70 residents were in attendance of the public meeting.
"We've had this problem for some time now, and we wanted to see what the publics thoughts were on how to pay for it," Jernigan said.
At the end of the meeting, the majority of the residents present were in favor of putting the half-cent tax raise on the ballot. If passed, the money would go toward a million dollar loan for the water line replacement. Once the loan was paid off, the sales tax increase would automatically end. The sales tax increase would raise taxes to ten cents for the time being.
At the monthly meeting, the only concerns that the council presented were what to do with excess funds from the tax rise and what to do if they raise does not pass.
After much discussion, the council came to an agreement that, if passed, the excess funds from the sales tax increase would be put into a separate account. The funds in the account would only be available for water or sewer line damage and/or debt retirement.
Jernigan also added that stray dogs were a discussion of the Public Meeting on Aug. 12. He, along with the councilmen, has heard many complaints about the issue of stray dogs in the past. The mayor said they are working to resolve this issue. Within the last couple of months, they have taken 25 dogs off of the streets of Lepanto.
In other business, the council:
*passed an ordinance prohibiting anyone from living in a structure without water and sewer services, to be effective immediately. The fine for not abiding by this ordinance will be $100 per day.
*voted in favor of a pay increase for one of the Lepanto Police Department officers after his service of 90 days with the department.
*accepted a motion to pay the library electricity bill, the utilities for the Painted House and give $200 a month to the museum. City Clerk Tamara Wyatt said this has been done for a long time; however, the auditors wanted the council to address all three issues in one motion.