Mayor B.J. Meeks said the annual budget of about $4 million is always tight, with payroll, insurance and other demands taking all but about $60,000 per year. That’s not enough to pave many roads.
“We will be looking at having public hearings about a 1 cent sales tax dedicated for streets only,” Meeks said. The city’s sales tax would increase from 3 cents to 4 cents. Coupled with state and school tax collections, Childersburg’s total sales tax rate would go from 8 cents to 9 cents.
Meeks said he would advocate limiting the tax to three years, during which it would raise about $1.2 million for street repairs and improvements.
The discussion began when Killough Heights resident Carrie Frazier was on the agenda to discuss street conditions in her neighborhood. Frazier and her husband arrived after the meeting had ended, and explained that she had been misinformed about the meeting time. But during the meeting, the mayor and council members agreed that the streets in Killough Heights are in rough shape, as are some others in town.
In the near term, the leaders will look at buying equipment and partnering with the Childersburg Water Works, Sewer and Gas Board to patch and repair streets as much as possible.
In another matter Tuesday night, the council authorized Meeks to sign an agreement with Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood engineering firm for consulting on wetlands mitigation in the city’s industrial park. The services will cost $7,750, and later it will likely cost $8,000 to $10,000 for wetlands mitigation. Federal regulations require that when wetlands are disturbed, money must be put up to develop and protect wetlands elsewhere so that the country keeps the same amount of wetland habitat.
The Childersburg mitigation would be for property for a proposed oil recycling business.
Also Tuesday, the mayor reported that the city is in the process of hiring 12 people for the emergency medical services department, and is also looking to hire a CDL-licensed driver to replace an employee who is retiring this week.