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By Staff
Council's cap ex plan hinges on tax increase
Leada DeVaney, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle city leaders are formulating their wish list with hopes that residents will agree to increased property taxes to pay for things such as emergency sirens, fire engines and road construction.
The city council is in the process of drafting a long-range $23 million capital improvement plan. And while officials know what they want to spend money on, they are unsure of where the funds will come from.
"We will hold a public meeting the latter half of the month to look at the needs and evaluate where we are," Mayor Clif Knight said. "We'd also like to use the meeting to educate people on where we are and how we are going to get where we're going."
The date of the public hearing has not been set.
Knight and other council members are pushing a property tax increase to boost city coffers. The push comes after last year's failed attempt to legalize alcohol sales in the city, a move proponents said would ease the financial burden without any tax increases.
Now, Knight said he's looking to area residents to tell him how they want to pay for city services and growth.
"If the support is strong enough, we will proceed with a property tax referendum," Knight said.
If the support isn't there, Knight said the council would consider a sales tax increase, though he is personally opposed to one.
"I think a property tax increase contradicts what we've been focusing on in Hartselle and that's to encourage business," Knight said "Plus, a sales tax increase hurts low income people, the very people that can't afford to pay more."
A property tax increase would have to be approved by the majority of registered voters. The council can enact a sales tax increase without a citywide vote.

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