The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Letters to the Editor

October 14, 2012

Letters to the Editor 10/14/12



Quentin D. Anderson Sr.


Wait before passing tax

Dear Editor:

As Athens has not had a sales tax increase since 1975, a proposal for an additional 1-cent sales tax is now being discussed and worked on per the mayor on a recent Jamie Cooper show to be submitted to the City Council for a vote. 

If voted for, and the new revenue becomes available, it must be very effectively managed and accounted for, and be beneficial to all Athens’ taxpaying citizens. This can only be accomplished through a process of developing a new revenue-based budget and the control of expenditures on a very business-like, planned, ethical basis, without predispositions and potential conflicts of interest. 

Each district, as well as the city taxpayers as a whole, must be taken into consideration, respected and represented.

To ensure this happens, I recommended to the City Council Monday night they wait until the new council is seated and let them make the vote.  I further recommended that there should also be multiple public work sessions between the outgoing, current and the new incoming council members, plus the city administration and service department management. These sessions would support the learning process and help develop an understanding of the necessity for the increase, as well as ensure making informed decisions regarding how revenues are and should be expended. 

I would also like to note that at the meeting on Monday, both Councilmen Harold Wales and Jim Hickman agreed that the council does not need to rush to this decision. Both strongly made their point of making the three new members of the council part of this decision before voting on such an important issue.

Also, before voting for any increased revenues, a planned line-item budget with legislative earmarks and controls must be developed to show exactly how and where any expenditure of new revenues will go; not be just some big pot of money to be doled out.

This is the only way to insure accountability and adequately represent the citizens of an individual district as well as the entire city. Last, but not least, the entire process, including issues, should be provided to the Courier in a transparent manner for reporting to our citizens.

As my very dear friend’s bumper sticker says, “Just Do the Right Thing.” It’s been since 1975, so let’s take a little longer.

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