Smiths Station City Council, mayor explore idea of implementing property tax

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By Morgan Bryce
Associate Editor

Implementing the city’s first-ever property tax was the focal point of discussion during the Smiths Station City Council’s meeting last Tuesday.
During the group’s work session, Mayor Bubba Copeland presented members of the city council, planning commission and zoning board with the idea of passing a 5-mil tax plan to address a number of issues, ranging from a lack of sewage to repaving worn roads throughout the city.
Equal to 1/1,000 of a dollar, Copeland said estimates from the Lee County Revenue Office suggest that the city could add nearly $175,000 – $200,000 per year, a huge boost to his plans for improving the city’s overall infrastructure.
“Our number-one priority is sewage. We don’t have a good city sewage system in place right now,” Copeland said. “My number-two priority would be to hire a city building inspector, and number three right now, improve downtown. We need streetscapes, streetlights, a uniformity … stick with a common theme. We are a train town, just like Opelika, and I believe we can be more of a thoroughfare for trains and make it into a beautiful downtown area.”
Copeland added that there will be no public vote for this new tax plan, but city officials will field questions and concerns from residents at a public forum scheduled for April 16, beginning at 6 p.m. The location will be announced at a later date.
The council also approved a resolution allowing Copeland to enter into an agreement with Decision Inc. to completely rehaul the city’s employee handbook, which entails full job responsibilities, behavior, work ethic and pay raises when appropriate.
“The system that we have now is antiquated. It’s almost juvenile,” Copeland said.
In other business, the council:
– approved a resolution authorizing Copeland to purchase playground equipment for the Smiths Station Sportsplex at a total cost of $17,970.64
– approved a financial statement of February’s general fund budget, which saw the city net $34,732.91 in income.

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