Members of the Paris City Council will consider two ordinances dealing with a proposed one percent increase in the city’s sales tax when they gather for a regular monthly meeting at 6 p.m. on Monday, May 6 at the Municipal Building.
Other items on the agenda include considering reappointing three people to city commissions. The meeting is open to the public.
The first ordinance to be brought up under new business is an ordiance to levy the one percent sales tax increase. The second ordinance sets a special election on the tax increase.
Paris Mayor Daniel Rogers is proposing the sales take hike to raise revenue to pay for infrastructure improvements. If approved by voters, sales taxes in the city would rise to 8.5 percent from the present 7.5 percent. When the half-percent tax for highway repairs, approved by voters last November, goes on the books, the sales tax in Paris will rise to 9 percent.
If voters approve the tax increase, Rogers has promised to eliminate the $12 monthly fee for trash pick up in the city. A portion of the sales tax proceeds, estimated at about $200,000 annually, would be used to pay for trash pick up. The remainder, about $300,000 annually, will be used to pay for repairs to city water lines and upgrades at the city’s water production plant. According to Rogers, the city may issue tax-free bonds backed by sales tax revenues to finance the infrastructure improvements.
The sales tax proposal also has a sunset clause, which means that after 10 years, the increase goes off the books unless renewed by voters.
The sales tax increase idea was brought to City Council members at the April regular meeting and Aldermen requested that City Attorney Cory Wells prepare the ordinances.
"I get the feeling that City Council members are behind this proposal," Rogers said. "Of course, I can’t speak for them, but I believe they are supportive of the idea."
Rogers has also said he’s heard more positive comments than negative comments from residents.
"Some of the people I’ve talked to haven’t said much about it," Rogers said. "A lot of the people I’ve talked to want us to fix our water system so we’re not on water conservation every summer and this is a way to do that. I’m not hearing many negative comments about it.
"But I know that myself and the Aldermen still need to hear from more residents about this," he said. "We need to know how people feel."
Rogers has invited an engineer to the meeting to show Aldermen the water line and water production plant improvements that can be done with proceeds from the tax increase.
If the two ordinances are approved, the election can take place no sooner that 90 days after the ordinances are adopted, Rogers said. The soonest an election could take place would be Tuesday, July 9. The next date would be Tuesday, Aug. 13 but that will be determined at the meeting, Rogers said.
In other items on the agenda, Aldermen will be asked to reappoint Paul Young to the Planning and Zoning Commission, Keith Downs to the Airport Commission and Rob Kopak to the Parks and Recreation Commission.