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Council plans to raise business license fees

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Council plans to raise business license fees

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Local business owners may see an increase in occupational taxes for the City of Gray if council members follow a recommendation received at a recent committee meeting.

The topic was discussed at the meeting of all city committees Aug. 20. City Clerk Cindy Yancey told council members she found out at a recent train ing session that Gray’s current base rate of $25 was low for its occupational tax, which is commonly known as a business license. She gave council members several options including a flat rate for all businesses or simply increasing the base rate.

The consensus of the council members appeared to be to raise the base rate to $100, which would increase each business’s occupational tax by $75. If approved, the increase would add $15,000 to city revenue.

The question of the increase will be put before the full council at its Sept. 10 meeting.

Yancey asked for the OK from the council to find out why Tri-County EMC does not pay the city a franchise tax. She said she was also looking at Monticello Gas because Eatonton Gas pays the city a franchise tax.

Deputy Clerk Ashley Roberson asked to be able to abate several taxes that appear to be uncollectable. The taxes were for businesses that had been closed for several years and her request was approved.

The exception to that was a piece of property that was to be sold at public auction next month.

City Attorney John Newberry said the city was ready to move forward with a formal automatic aid agreement with Jones County.

Interim Fire Chief Keith Eisele said automatic aid with the county is already being practiced and all that was needed was to put the agreement in writing. He said the written agreement would help with the city’s ISO rating.

Council Terry Favors asked for three streets to be added to the city’s Local Maintenance & Improvement Grant (LMIG) list. With the additions, the proposed list contains five streets and the Georgia Department Transportation contribution is $47,202.61.

As part of the agreement, the city would add $14,160.79, which is 30 percent of the project, bringing the total to $61,363.40.

Favors also said he met with Jason Briley and he wanted to give the city a quote for its major medical insurance.

“We need to see where we are,” he said.

In order for that to happen, Favors said Briley would have to be listed as the city’s agent of record.

Council members also looked at an agreement with Woodland Springs LLC to allow the company to pay water/sewer tap in payments. The agreement required one-half of the fee up front and the rest in two installments.

Newberry reported that he is still in negotiations with the property owner about a test well proposed on Woodland Dr.

Mayor Ed Barbee announced that the Tourism Resource Product Development Team would be coming to Gray Sept. 17 – 19 and a town hall meeting was set for Sept. 17 at Butler’s Garage.

He encouraged all council members to plan to attend.

The mayor also said an energy audit for city properties was scheduled Sept. 6.

The recommendations from the committees will be brought before the full council for a vote at its next meeting Sept. 10.