City Council Asked To Eliminate City Tax Collector Position
Tax Collector Judy Pendergraft approached the Southwest City Council again last week to suggest the city eliminate the local tax collector position and opt to have taxes collected by the county.
She explained that a city collector is paid 7 percent of all taxes collected — personal, real estate and business licenses. The county only withholds 5 percent.
It was previously noted there would be an initial fee of $5,200 for the county to update its software to include city taxes, but both city and county taxes would be reflected on the tax statement, assuring all taxes are paid.
Presently, to obtain a vehicle tag, only proof of paid county taxes are required. If the county collector is responsible for both city and
county taxes paid, an individual will have to pay both before acquiring a vehicle tag.
The county would cut the city a check monthly, detailing what taxes have been collected.
Pendergraft presented this information to council members last year, but they opted to keep the position local to provide employment in the community.
Despite this decision, Pendergraft noted that no one chose to run for the position so, as the incumbent, she was assigned the job. She plans to retire from the role next year.
“If it will give our town more money, I think we should do that,” she said. “Eliminating the position would need to be voted on in the upcoming election.”
Mayor David Blake asked City Clerk Missy Zinn to research election information, but no decision was made.
Mayor Blake spoke about the recent public meeting to discuss trail planning in Southwest City. Blake said he is still researching costs of various pedestrian bridges as a preliminary measure for grant applications but noted he was pleased with the turnout of the meeting.
The water department reported repairing a leak at 408 Park Drive.
Alderman Tammie Martin inquired about the city’s protocol regarding condemning structures.
Police Chief Bud Gow said there is a city ordinance which allows him to declare a property uninhabitable if it’s determined to be a harm to occupants or others.
But, Gow said, the ordinance has no teeth.
“We can’t tear the structure down, but — if someone moves back in — I can cite them for each day they occupy the property,” he said.
The council discussed the measures necessary to clean up a vacant property in town.
Clerk Zinn reviewed the trail grant timeline, then asked council members to contribute any additional information they have.
Alderman Ron Jackson inquired about a bill in the amount of $8,000. Zinn said she spoke to a representative from the business and was told the bill was for annual maintenance of the water tower, such as repainting and sterilization.
Jackson said he doesn’t recall a bill in that amount for years past and asked for documentation of the city’s contract with the business, as well as the terms and duration of the contract.
Council members discussed the specifications for a basketball court at Blankenship Park. The board determined a 30-by-40-foot court would best suit the city’s needs. It will need to be made of a 4-inch slab with a 4,000-pound mix, reinforced by a 3/8-inch rebar mat on two-foot centers.
The council agreed to request bids with these specs.
Zinn notified the council of a building permit request. The First Baptist Church is remodeling the building to accommodate the addition of a Head Start Center on the premises.
At a previous meeting, council members unanimously agreed to stall the issuance of permits until a new building permit process is established.
Mayor Blake said he has been speaking with a local city inspector and hopes to have more information soon.