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City hosts town hall meeting on sales tax hike

Posted on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 5:49 pm

The referendum on the quarter of one percent sales tax increase is not a question of whether Fayetteville residents are going to pay additional taxes, but rather, a question of whether Fayetteville residents want to share the burden or shoulder the load themselves.

At least that was the message of city leaders during a town hall meeting Thursday. Approximately 20 residents turned out to learn more about the sales tax option, which is on the ballot for city voters.

“There has been a great deal of misunderstanding about the upcoming sales tax referendum, which has led to the misconception that Fayetteville will be voting on whether or not they want to pay an additional tax,” said City Administration Jim Lee. “Obviously, nobody wants to pay taxes. But that is not the question here.

“The city is going to have an increase, no matter what, because funds must be raised for continuing projects – sidewalks, repairs to streets, update equipment, etc.

“The question is whether the tax imposed will be one that affects us all fairly or whether we will face the burden of a property tax increase,” he continued. “The sales tax will be paid by everyone who shops in the city, while the property tax will only be paid by the property owners in the city.”

The sales tax is the eminently preferable alternative, said Lee, estimating that 70 percent of the sales tax will be paid by other people rather than residents.

“Thousands of dollars of the sales tax will not be paid by Fayettevillians but by persons from outside the city – tourists, non-residents who come to work or shop, but do not share in our tax burden to pay for the serves we enjoy.”

The city administrator said if the sales tax is not approved, it does not mean city residents won’t be taxed. Instead, it will mean residents will be facing higher citywide property taxes, which those from outside the city will not share – “That would leave the total tax increase to homeowners, other property owners as well as on renters, because landlords will include rents to offset the increase in property taxes.

“All these reasons demonstrate why it is tremendously important that all Fayetteville residents go to the polls Nov. 6 and express their approval of tax fairness by voting for the quarter of one percent sales tax.”