Crowd asks questions on $20 tabs proposal
About a dozen people showed up for Electric City’s public hearing on its proposed “transportation benefit district.”
Most got answers to their questions, but all they won was a delay in action by council members.
The delay, in part, was because the city didn’t have all the answers. An explanation of what a transportation benefit district is and how it operates was elusive.
If, or rather when, the city votes for the special district, it will mean that city residents who renew their vehicle license tabs will have to pay an extra $20, which will go into the city’s street fund.
Bob Hollingsworth, who has four vehicles, asked why he would have to pay the extra $20 on every vehicle, since he only drives one or two.
Former city council member Willie Bott said he had looked up information on transportation districts and found that only 22 cities throughout the state had voted one in. He had questions about which vehicles would get the $20 tab fee applied.
Mike Chamberlain told the council that the extra fee would cost him $200. He said that some of the rigs he owns are not kept in Electric City, and he wondered if he would have to pay the fee on those. It was explained that vehicle owners had to reveal their home addresses, so he would have to pay for all of them.
All in all, it was an amiable meeting. Most understood that if Electric City didn’t form a transportation benefit district, then the county could and take the money. At least, Mayor Jerry Sands explained, the money would stay here and benefit the street program if the TBD were formed in the city.
Sands stated that the $20 tab fee would likely raise $25,000 annually for the city.
City Clerk Jackie Perman passed out a chart showing a nearly 25-percent decline in the city’s street fund, going from $1,105,764, in 2006, down to $835,219, in 2011.
Sands explained that the city’s reserve street fund earned the city some $35,000 interest in 2006, and only $1,497 in interest in 2011, due to the declining savings rate.
In the past two years the city hasn’t put any money from property tax revenue into the street fund.
The council will further develop its information on the ins and outs of the transportation benefit district so it can deal with the issue at its next council meeting Oct. 9.