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Jenkins council sets vote on new tax on business

Jenkins man asks about cop car policy

The Jenkins City Council will be asked to vote next month to institute a Net Profit-Sharing Tax on businesses in the City of Jenkins.

The vote will be taken at the January meeting of the Jenkins City Council. At Monday’s council meeting, City Attorney Randall Tackett conducted the first reading of the tax ordinance. Tackett said profits will be measured by federal tax rules and based on gross receipts. The tax rate will be set at 1.5 percent.

Tackett said the new ordinance simplifies a business tax ordinance that is no longer in effect, which taxed every business individually, including pack peddlers. He said this law will be easier to enforce.

Mayor Todd Depriest said the business tax is necessary if the city wants to continue city services at the current rate. He said that out of $36 million in assessed property tax value, about $9 million is adjusted out in disability and homestead tax breaks, leaving the city with an actual base of $27 million.

The council has generally avoided property tax increases due to the high property tax rate levied by the Jenkins Independent School District. This year’s school tax is 85.2 cents per $100 real and personal property and 69 cents per $100 for motor vehicles and aircraft. The rate last year was 84.7 cents for real property and 87.1 cents for personal property. The motor vehicle rate is unchanged.

The business tax was introduced during the October council meeting when DePriest told the council he wasn’t ready to take action, but wanted to study the matter further. The council did not vote on the ordinance Monday because an ordinance requires two readings before a vote can be taken, giving residents time to comment before the ordinance is passed. DePriest said that he hopes the council will look closely at the issue between now and the next meeting.

DePriest said that when the city passed the occupational tax in 2012, the original ordinance included a Net Profit-Sharing Tax, but it was removed. DePriest said that other cities in the region that have occupational taxes all have Net Profit- Sharing taxes as well. Councilman Rick Damron questioned the process of having the first reading because he said he was unaware that the tax had been discussed previously.

In other business, the council passed a resolution to adopt Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and to pledge to follow the act’s guidelines in fair housing, employment, and other provisions. The council voted unanimously to approve the resolution, which will be necessary to accept federal funds in the coming year.

Brickyard Hill resident David Back raised several issues with the council. He asked about a man who has been staying at the firehouse, and asked if the people in Joe’s Branch pay their garbage bills. Depriest said the Joe’s Branch residents pay their bills regularly and that the man at the firehouse was a longtime volunteer fireman who temporally doesn’t have any place to stay. He said the man usually answers about 75 percent of the fire calls and has almost completed emergency medical technician classes. Back also asked about police officers using city vehicles for transportation to and from their homes. Depriest said any expense in gasoline is more than offset in the lower response time and the sense of security a visible police presence provides.

He said the city’s Christmas Parade will be held Saturday (Dec. 7) at 5 p.m.

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