Athens Mayor Clears Air on Tax Increase

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The Mayor of Athens had a tough job to do at Tuesday night’s city council meeting. In a presentation called “The Facts About Tax”, Mayor Ronnie Marks tried to clear the air of what he believes is misinformation about taxation.

It’s a tough sell for some who are unhappy with a one cent increase they’re now paying, from eight cents to nine cents on every dollar. The city will now get three percent from city tax instead of two percent. Mayor Marks says that money is needed.

“I think the pros of it is certainly trying to build for the future, and that is having a revenue stream that will allow you to look at roads, infrastructure, sewage projects, correcting the whole sewer lines in the city of Athens.”

The money will not only go to road projects, but also the school system, for hiring police and fire personnel, and for a special fund to pay off debt early or to pay for matching grants.

The mayor says there is a better way to fund all of this, but knew it wouldn’t have a chance at passing.

“In my opinion the right thing to do for the state of Alabama, not just the city of Athens, would have been to look at across the board property tax increase.” Marks adds, ”That puts the money on the people who can afford that. It’s a more equitable way to look at taxation, but that’s a vote of the people and it’s real clear that that’s not going to happen.”

The mayor says they took a poll and realized that no one would vote for a property tax increase.

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