If raised, the tax rate per $100 of real property would rise from $0.121 to $0 .126. The proposed increase would take personal property rates from $0.143 to $0.151 per $100 of taxable property.
Council member Steve Lucas also supported the increase. "We need the money," he said, but with a estimated revenue increase of only $12,700, "it's going to be a drop in the bucket."
The council unanimously agreed to hold a public hearing on the proposed tax hike, to be advertised in the local paper in advance.
Ordinance regarding protesting and parades discussed
In new business, the council discussed the city ordinance regarding protesting and parades. According to city attorney Carol Hill, all protesters and parades, including the monthly cruise-ins, are required to have a permit to gather on public property. It is the responsibility of the police chief to enforce the policy, said Hill.
The issue was raised by council member Jayme Phillips, who said he worried that a picket line protesting outside the judicial center last week had blocked the sidewalk and forced some pedestrians to walk through traffic.
The group, Concerned Citizens for a Better Family Court, had been protesting Family Court Judge Debra Lambert.
The council agreed that future protesters or groups must obtain a permit to meet at least five days in advance. If not done, police have the authority to arrest or disband the participants. While the ordinance had been on the books for several years, it was questioned whether or not the police chief had known a permit was needed for last week's protest.
"They need to know the ground rules, and our people need to know the ground rules, and if those people get out of line and block the courthouse, they need to be arrested," Lucas said.
People should be allowed to protest with a permit, and not be charged a fee for the document, "as long as they don't impede the progress of the town," Booth said.