Mayor: Implementation of new tax on this year’s Woodland Mills agenda
By: Donna Ryder Messenger Associate Editor
By DONNA RYDER
Messenger Associate Editor
This year could be one of the biggest for Woodland Mills.
Mayor Wade Carrington said 2008 is the year he and the board would like to consider a property tax or some other form of tax for the city.
A decline in state-shared taxes over the years and the lack of new businesses locating within the city limits to draw in sales tax revenues is hurting the bottom line. Plus, costs are continuing to rise.
The board has requested a meeting with David Angerer of the Municipal Technical Advisory Service. They’re hoping he can shed light on how the city would go about raising money so it can continue the business of the city.
“MTAS is coming to talk about what will meet the needs for a city of our size,” he said.
Carrington said he wants Angerer to provide information on both a property tax and a wheel tax.
The mayor added he would like to have a new revenue source in place before the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2008.
Carrington said he’s not talking about a lot of tax, just enough to help the city stay out of debt.
A source of pride for the community was the completion of the pavilion at the ballpark. The facility has picnic areas and grills, with restroom facilities. About 50 people attended an open house, where they were treated to a meal by Atmos Energy and some good entertainment by the group Southern Exchange.
Cracks in the tennis courts were also repaired last year and trees alongside the courts were cut. The city was having problems with seedlings growing in the cracks and pine needles that had fallen on the courts causing problems for those attempting to play. The board would like to repaint the courts. The special paint is expensive, though, costing $60 per five-gallon bucket, which will cover about 500 square feet.
The city would also like to pave the gravel parking lot and do some work at the walking track.
Also during 2007, the board took steps to save the city money. The sewer system was being charged for thousands of more gallons of treatment than what residents and businesses were using in water. New check valves and a new flow meter were installed at the pumping stations, motors were rebuilt and a sump pump was installed. Because the board thought a lot of rainwater was getting into the system, it was decided a smoke test would be performed. Several problem locations were found and corrective measures were taken. Several new manhole covers and risers were purchased. Carrington said a new meter system will be installed this year.
The board saw immediate savings in the electricity bill for the pumping stations after repairs were made. It was noted at one meeting that the Mount Herman station bill went from more than $300 per month to only $67, while the Highway 5 pumping station bill decreased from more than $450 to just $165.
A large expense during 2007 was the installation of a new roof on the Civic Center. Though the roof had been planned for the 2006-07 fiscal year, the $22,000 expense actually came out of the 2007-08 budget. New heating and air units were also placed there. The board would also like to replace the current lights, which give off a yellow tint.
Some residents in Woodland Mills were offered a glimmer of hope that they’d be able to have their homes repaired. Randy Nelson of Nelson and Thornton in Jackson appeared before the mayor and board of aldermen to offer his company’s services in helping the city get funded for a Community Development Block Grant and possibly other grants as well.
In August, Nelson said he was aware that Woodland Mills had not applied for the grant in several years and thought there might be a need in an area of housing built there with government funds in the 1980s. He said the city could apply for up to $500,000 and, with that money, his company could work to repair homes as well as drainage problems in the target area.
His company has evaluated the neighborhood and has set a public hearing for Tuesday at 6 p.m. at City Hall. It will be October before the city learns if the grant will be awarded and 2009 before any work can begin. There will be no cost to the homeowner or the city and any fees charged by Nelson’s company will come from the grant. If the grant is not awarded, his company would not be paid for services rendered.
During 2007, Woodland Mills also named resident Tom Menees as the city’s emergency management representative, while Mike George of the Obion County Emergency Management Agency will be the city’s point of contact with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.
Published in The Messenger 1.17.08