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Jasper City Council approves higher tax rate
JASPER - by Steve W Stewart/KJAS & Rayburn Broadcasting Company
The Jasper City Council in their regular monthly meeting on Monday and voted to slightly raise taxes, following a hearing on the proposed budget for the upcoming year.
The meeting began with the hearing, in which only one citizen spoke. Jasper resident and property owner Evelyn O'Neill questioned council about raising taxes, instead of pursuing the recovery of approximately $300,000.00 in delinquent taxes. O'Neill suggested that Council consider passing an ordinance that would prohibit someone from purchasing property during a tax sale in Jasper, if that person already owes back taxes.
O'Neill cited an example of a man in Jasper who, she said, owns more than 40 properties in Jasper, 17 of which have delinquent taxes amounting to approximately $119,000.00.
Following the public forum, council moved into the regular meeting and voted to approve a small tax increase of 3 cents for every $100 value. The new rate is 32 cents, the same rate the city had in 2003. Interim City Manager Denise Kelley said it's lower than a number of comparably sized cities.
Council also approved the city's operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The amount approved was $24,524,197.00.
Additionally, council approved the budget tor the Jasper Economic Development Corporation (JEDCO), which totaled at $554,454.00.
In other business, council approved the appointment of District 2 Councilman Tommy Schofield to serve on the JEDCO board of directors, replacing former Councilman Tommy Adams.
Late in the meeting, council went into executive session to consult with a representative from the Waters Consulting Group on the list of applicants for the Jasper police chief position, and also to consult with attorneys regarding pending litigation against the city.