By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal
CORINTH – A crowd of more than 100 city residents attended Tuesday’s town hall meeting to learn more about the proposed Aug. 21 Future Fare tax election that would fund Corinth infrastructure improvements.
After Mayor Tommy Irwin’s slide presentation and historical background information, voters asked questions about the proposals.
They also took home a booklet that details the city’s current sources of revenue and how those funds are spent, a chart that shows what an individual’s tax would be based on the assessed vehicle and property values, and how the city will assure the funds raised through the special millage will be used for the purposes intended, among other issues.
The proposed tax would add 12 mills to taxes on residential property, commercial property and car tags each year for a period of five years.
“I’m very supportive of this,” said Corinth businessman Randy Long. “If we don’t do something now, I’ll pay later, losing my investment in my home, my business with collapsed streets and infrastructure. … I think if we pass this it will lead to gains in other areas.”
Resident Jimmy Wheeler brought up another point on taxes.
“I don’t recall any tax increase in Corinth the last 10 years,” he said. “I hope people will keep that in mind, too.”
However, with the tax strain local businesses are already feeling, businessman Harold Patrick said he opposes the plan.
“A tax increase on businesses is like a nail in the coffin – very hurtful,” Patrick said. “It penalizes developers when properties go unsold. I feel like there are other opportunities to get this revenue.”
City Clerk Vickie Roach and Alderman Andrew Labas explained that the city doesn’t have capacity to support a bond issue, and there is no city reserve fund, only money the city needs for operational cash flow and to provide the local matching funds for any grants it may receive.
If approved, the tax is expected to raise $1 million per year for a total of $5 million, funds that would be placed in a separate, dedicated fund for projects like street paving, drainage work and property cleanup.