Caraway Council considers sales tax feasibility

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Caraway City Council discussed finances, potential sales tax, and ordinances at the regular city council meeting held Thursday, Aug. 11.

"I am glad to see the general fund is up this month," Mayor Barry Riley said. "We are all working hard to cut costs in every way possible."

Riley and the council discussed the feasibility of issuing a one-cent city sales tax.

"I have had little or no resistance to the idea of a sales tax," Councilman Mark Bell said. "Only three or four out of the 50 people I talked to were not completely for it."

"I think the people understand that we need it," Councilman Marvin Browning said.

"It overwhelmed me to see just how well they understood," Councilman Mitchell Tipton said. "I didn't have anyone tell me no when I explained it. We need to go forward on this if we can. I think it is a good idea."

Riley explained the council would need to submit an ordinance for approval and to place it on the voting schedule.

"We have to turn this around to keep the city going," Riley said. " I want us to get a letter out and hold some public meetings on this. If all goes well, we should be able to have an election by February of next year. I will work at drafting an ordinance and have it ready by the September council meeting."

Riley read a letter from merchants Lynn and Betty Haag thanking Police Chief Pete Hicks and County Sheriff Department Deputy Terry McNatt for their help in recovering misappropriated merchandise.

Riley reported Mississippi County detention workers have been very helpful with removal of limbs after the recent storms. He thanked Johnny Boatman for his assistance with the workers while they were in town.

The council approved a request by City Treasurer and Clerk Rick Stevens requesting his salary be set back to the 2010 amount, as the other city officials had done in last month's council meeting.

The council again discussed amending their mobile home ordinance to limit the age of trailers.

Mark Bell suggested having a checklist or conditions of mobile homes.

"It's not always the age of the trailer that is the problem, but rather the condition it is in," Bell said.

"The problem with a checklist is that some individuals simply can't afford to do better and don't have the money," Tipton said.

"Some towns restrict the placement of trailers in subdivisions when they are built," Riley said.

"I think we should be going at it this way," Alderman Bo James said. "We should keep this low key, and take in consideration people's feelings and ability to afford better homes. Many people take very good care of their mobile homes, regardless of the age of them."

No action was taken on the current mobile home ordinance.

Decisions about the garbage ordinance were also discussed, as problems have arisen with timely manner to take trash bins off the side of the road. The council decided to wait until April to address the problem.

Riley reported work on the city complex building is nearing completion.

Location of water and sewer lines for the new car wash was discussed. An on-site visit will be held with owners, city officials and Water Superintendent Terry Couch, so installation plans can be finalized.

A 99-year lease of city property to the St. Francis Levee District has been drawn up by city attorney and is awaiting signatures. Four employees are currently working on the job site, and equipment is being moved in.

Discussion about 4th of July celebration was held. Currently the Park Commission will be responsible for purchasing fireworks for inside the park walls, with the Lion's Club responsible for the midway rides.

The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8, at at city hall.

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