Friday, March 19, 2004
Sewer sales tax opposed
The Fulton County Board of Commissioners has officially opposed a referendum for an Atlanta water/sewer sales tax four times, most recently at its March 3 meeting.
The board voted 5-0 against House Bill 1612 Local Sales Tax, which would allow the city of Atlanta by resolution to call a county-wide referendum for a one-cent increase. Under that measure, the county would have to agree or lose sales tax revenues.
The proposed bill would change the current law, which gives the County Commission sole authority to decide whether to call a referendum. The commission has on three earlier occasions refused to put a county-wide SPLOST referendum on the ballot; February 5, 2003, August 6, 2003 and December 3, 2003.
Saying she opposes the bill vigorously, Commission Chairman Karen Handel made the motion and District 5 Commissioner Emma I. Darnell seconded.
This is truly beyond the pale, Handel said, calling it unconstitutional. It is not a municipalitys job to direct a county what they can or cannot do, just as a county cant direct a municipality what they can or cannot do.
Commissioner Darnell questioned the tax burden on the most vulnerable populations.
It is preposterous that we would even allow citizens to think for one moment that in addition to all the other kinds of fees and taxes they have, that we are now considering raising sales taxes from 7 percent to 8 percent, said Darnell. It doesnt even purport to reduce the water and sewer fees in Atlanta.