Town of Locust Fork

Citizen has his say ... again

Locust Fork Town Council last week amended its 2010-11 budget, appointed a member to the planning commission, and discussed the schedule of its security patrol.

But Charles Turner had none of those matters on his mind. He delivered a onehour tirade – briefer than the previous 90-minute one – condemning the utility license tax town officials had levied back in June. Turner accused the council of a hidden agenda for taxing the innocent citizens of the town.

“Imposing these taxes is unfair, especially when citizens outside the corporate limits don’t have a voice or vote,” Turner shouted.

Ordinance 41, which the council unanimously adopted June 8, called for a utility license tax levy of 3 percent inside the town’s corporate limits and 1.5 percent within the police jurisdiction. Affected by the levy are Alabama Power Company, Pine Bluff Water Authority, Cullman- Jefferson Gas Districts, and Marshall County Gas District, which may choose to absorb the tax or pass it on to customers.

Councilor Greg Sherrer interrupted Turner to say the public will benefit from proceeds from the tax, including the town’s security patrol team, of which Turner’s son is a paid member.

Councilor Weslie Powell further explained how tax revenues would serve Locust Fork citizens. They would enable the town to maintain existing services and enhance fire protection, community safety, and road improvements. Powell said it was the council’s intention to further lower the ISO rating, which in turn would lower residents’ insurance rates.

Although Turner’s outbursts were heard, he left without having influenced officials’ minds. He and others present were provided with a full explanation of the council’s motives.

According to the council’s 2010-11 general fund budget, the utility license tax would provide the town approximately $8500 in annual revenues. It is estimated the monthly water tax would result in approximately a $1.35 increase per month per household.

According to the Pine Bluff Water Authority, members had not yet discussed when residents would see the tax reflected on their bills. It was on the agenda for the meeting last night, Sept. 21.

The gas tax has not yet taken effect.

In other matters, the council:

•appointed Jennifer Lake to the planning commission to finish the unexpired term of one who resigned.

•approved application from Pine Bluff Water Authority for trenching Wilder Road.

•heard a report from Steven League, vice president of Locust Fork Softball.

The next regular council meeting will be Tuesday, Sept. 28, 6 p.m.