Remember that referendum Columbus voters passed in March? The one that renewed for another five years (or until $192,185,000 is collected) the 1 percent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax that expired Dec. 31 and helps the Muscogee County School District pay for capital projects?
Yeah, that referendum.
Well, that SPLOST will go into effect next week. So as of July 1, the total sales tax in Columbus will increase from 7 percent to 8 percent, as it was from 2010 through the end of 2014.
Did you enjoy the 1 percent reprieve the past six months? Did you make any big purchases because of the lower tax rate?
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We hope you didn't include automobiles in that wish list because they have been exempt from sales taxes since March 1, 2013, when Georgia's new method of taxing motor vehicles went into effect, requiring new owners to instead pay a one-time ad valorem tax, 6.5 percent of its value, when the car is titled.
So how do Columbus retailers know they will need to increase the sales tax they charge? Chatter Central tried to find out.
James Robinson of the Muscogee County Tax Commissioner's Office said that office handles only ad valorem taxes, and he referred us to the Columbus Consolidated Government's finance department, where senior accountant Angelica Alexander said notification is up to the Georgia Department of Revenue. Department spokesman Nick Genesi said the state notifies local retailers through email listservs and also relies on word of mouth -- which includes Chatter.
"If a retailer charges the incorrect tax, you can maybe remind them," Genesi said. "Usually it's the opposite, when a SPLOST expires, and citizens get charged too much. But we ask citizens to be aware. That money goes back to the local economy. We have a voluntary compliance tax structure, and we want to make sure people are voluntarily compliant."
Scott Ressmeyer and about 20 of the 30 Miracle Riders who have taken the annual motorcycle ride to benefit the Childrens Miracle Network showed up at Columbus Council's Tuesday afternoon meeting.
Clad in their black hats and dusters, they created quite a spectacle as they were called forward to be honored with a city proclamation.
Councilor Judy Thomas, long a supporter of the ride, praised the group for raising more than $1 million for children's medical care.
"The things that they do for our community, not only in their role as Miracle Riders, but in their everyday lives, is just an outstanding piece of business," Thomas said before reading the document proclaiming June 23, 2015, Scott's Ride for Miracles Day.
Ressmeyer said it has been an honor to help the children and also to represent Columbus in every state in the lower 48 states.
"I want to thank you for trusting us to represent the city," Ressmeyer told the councilors, and laughed, "You must have lost your minds."
We in Chatterland just have to know: Are you a dog person or a cat lover?
Either way, the PAWS Humane Adoption Center in Columbus has got you covered, with specials being offered through June 30 for adoption of pets now residing at the 4900 Milgen Road facility.
That means you've only got until close of business Tuesday to take advantage of a $5 adoption fee on any kitty over the age of six months or $45 for any doggie over that age, according to PAWS Humane marketing director Missy McClure. Loveable kittens under age six months cost $75 to adopt and take into your home.
"I am a two-year-old domestic longhair blend," says Bella the cat in a recent email from McClure. "I came here as an owner surrender due to my owner being allergic to me. I am litter box trained and good with children. I am a bit mischievous with a lot of personality. I have been known for tipping over my water bowl and for knocking things off of the counter tops. If you're looking for a fluffy kitty who has a quirky personality and loves morning snuggles, I may be a good match for you! I am spayed, microchipped, feline leukemia and FIV negative and current on my vaccinations."
Then there's Hannah, a sweet older female pooch -- naturally, she doesn't divulge her age -- who still has lots of love to give and came to PAWS from Columbus Animal Care and Control.
"Her face may be white, but her heart is pure gold," McClure says. "You would be blessed to have this lady in your life, home and hearts. Hannah is already spayed, microchipped and fully vaccinated ... She is guaranteed to make you smile!"
Of course, there's no guarantee that Bella or Hannah will be at the facility when you visit. But there are many more worthy feline and canine friends in dire need of a good home filled with love.
So, if you're so inclined, head on over to PAWS Humane very soon and adopt a new member of your family.
That's the Chatterland way.