Oneonta renews tax collection contract service

In its most recent regular session, the Oneonta City Council voted to renew its tax collection contracts with Revenue Discovery Systems. City manager Ed Lowe had advised the council that the city technically has four contracts with the system: sales and use, rental and lease, lodging, and revenue discovery. The four renewals were approved in one motion.

Oneonta businessman Clyde Woods addressed the council soliciting funds from the 2015 fiscal budget for the newly formed Blount County Economic Development Council. Woods reviewed the origin of the council and its decision to seek a $2-per person appropriation from the incorporated municipalities and the county commission. The commission appropriation would cover those residents not in incorporated areas. Responding to a council inquiry, Woods indicated he anticipates the project will require a $200,000 annual budget to succeed.

The Triangle Marketing head presented statistics which portray Blount County as considerably behind its neighbors and most other counties in the state in employment statistics. He said the county ranked 54th (out of 67) in tourism dollars, trailing only 13 “Black Belt” counties. He decried that 70 percent of the county workforce commutes outside daily. He also noted, among various other inadequacies, that in the adjacent 21- county area, only Lawrence, Winston, and Blount lack economic development councils.

Lowe won council approval to accept an almost $50,000 grant for engineering work toward additional hangar space at the city’s Robbins Field airport. He advised that the city has also contracted for helicopter spraying service to address kudzu problems at the field.

In her council report, councilor Tonya Rogers noted that the city fire department has free smoke detectors available to any residents in need. She explained that those interested should contact the fire department at 274-2752 to schedule a time for delivery and set up.

Councilman Danny Robinson missed the July 8 meeting. Mayor Ross Norris and councilors Hal Blackwood, Mark Gargus, and Tim McNair joined Rogers for the session. The council holds its regular meetings the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 5:30 p.m. in city hall.

Lowe has advised The Blount Countian that the council will hold a public hearing at 5 p.m. prior to the July 22 meeting to solicit comments on five applications for liquor license approvals. (See related article above.)