Junction City passes payroll tax

August 15, 2003|LIZ MAPLES

JUNCTION CITY - The city passed a $50 occupational license fee and a 1 percent payroll tax by a 3-2 vote Thursday amidst objections from the leaders of the Concerned Citizens for Junction City.

Council members Connie Vernon, Roberta Zeller and Wayne Wesley voted for the measure, Jim Douglas and Dewayne Taylor against and Brad Murphy abstained.

"This tax is not fair," Douglas said.

"It's either this or close the doors," Zeller said.

Murphy said he wanted a one-year exemption from payroll taxes for new businesses. Domestic help, such as housekeepers and lawn workers, would be exempt.

Mayor G.G. Harmon said that he plans to hold a workshop about cuts to the city budget and then talk about his opinion at September's meeting. A final vote on the tax package will also be at that meeting.


A proposed $20 vehicle sticker fee was voted down unanimously after Zeller said that enforcement would be difficult and pointed out that the city only made $700 the last time it had the tax.

Tax leaves businesses subject to audit by the city

Jimmy Cutter, head of the CCJC, said the tax still left businesses subject to audit by the city, which is why the group didn't want a net profits tax, first proposed with the payroll tax and occupational license fee.

"What I make in a year is nobody's business, and I don't want it spread all over town," he said.

He and CCJC's Debbie Sayler said they believe that as small as Junction City is, if the city could look at their books then everyone would know how profitable they and their businesses are every year.

"It'll get out," Cutter said. "You couldn't lock it up in the Boyle County Jail."

Under the proposed ordinance, even businesses with no employees would be subject to audit to make sure there were no employees.

Vince Pennington, city attorney, suggested the City Council exempt those businesses from an audit that sign a sworn statement that they have no employees.

"As long as everyone sends their forms in then no one will look at the books," Vernon said.

Pennington pointed out that no one knows how well businesses are doing in Danville, and that city has a payroll tax.

Danville has 3,000 businesses and Junction City has 37. "It's totally different," Salyer said.

Cutter suggested that the city just look at bank statements or canceled checks.

At 10 p.m., Zeller said the meeting needed to end because the city was paying three employees overtime to be there for the discussion, and the city was already in a financial crunch.

The meeting ended shortly after with the council agreeing it would think about the issue.

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