Becoming an Informed Voter

By Teresa Barbian

 

One of the most impressive powers possessed by a citizen of Anson is exercising your right to vote. However, with this power comes a civic responsibility to make informed decisions when making your choices during the general election on November 8, 2016. Not only are we voting for the next President of the United States and City Council leaders, and the citizens of Anson will be voting for or against Proposition 1. The City Council had the second reading of Ordinance #921 during their regularly scheduled meeting on August 22, 2016. This ordinance places a proposition on the general election ballot to reallocate the sales and use taxes for the Industrial Development Corporation of Anson, Inc (a 4A Economic Development Corporation), and the Anson Development Corporation, Inc (a 4B Economical Development Corporation), and the Street Maintenance and Repair Fund. There may be some citizens that do not understand what this means, so my hope is to educate the public on what this proposition means. I have been asked a number of times why the City of Anson wants to take the money away from the IDC and the ADC. My first response is, “That is not entirely true”.

Right now, the 1% of the 8.25% sales tax that is allocated from the state comptroller’s office is split three ways; 37.5% goes to the IDC, 37.5% goes to the ADC, and 25% goes to the Street Maintenance fund. In the past few years the average amount of that 1% of the sales tax from the city has been about $141,000 per year. That means that the IDC and the ADC have both received $52,000 per year, and the Street Maintenance fund has received $35,000 each year. The monies that are received in the Street Maintenance fund can only be used for street repair and maintenance; it cannot be used for any other purpose. In the past years a municipality could only receive a maximum amount of 25% of the 1 cent for street maintenance. In 2015 HB 157 allowed all cities to raise this amount in 1/8% increments to help raise more money for street repair due to the fact that grant monies for street repair are almost nonexistent, and the cost of the repairs increases each year. If the reallocation is passed, then the IDC and ADC funds would receive around $22,000 each per year and the Street Maintenance Fund would stand to receive around $90,000 per year.

In the past 10 years the IDC has expended out, on average, about $20,000 per year on assisting local businesses. The IDC now has a bank balance of around $200,000 to continue with their projects. Over the last 10 years ADC funds have been used to pay for a loan of $300,000 that was acquired to pave 2nd Street that goes to the Sheriff’s Department and the prison that has yet to open. This debt was paid in full in 2015 and they now have a bank balance of $60,000 to take on new projects. In 2014 and 2015 the city of Anson spent around $87,000 each year on pot holes, water leak holes, and street repair. This reallocation would not affect the bank balances of the IDC or ADC and would allow the city to address the city streets in a more effective way. This could consist in acquiring a TAN (Tax Anticipation Note) to pave all the streets ready at this time. With an increase to the Street Maintenance Fund, the city would be able to look at all the streets in Anson. All the streets that have water mains in the middle or that have aged lines that are prone to leaks would need to be assessed. No street can be paved until these lines are moved or replaced.

 

The City of Anson is not proposing taking all money away from the IDC or ADC. They are only proposing to decrease the amount received by these two funds since their past expenditures are far less than what they are receiving and increase the Street Maintenance Fund in order to make improvements and repair the streets in Anson. Whether you agree or disagree with this proposition, it is important for all voters to be informed when you make that decision. Don’t forget to exercise your right on Tuesday, November 8, 2016 because every vote counts.

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