Second sales tax hearing Thursday night

City leaders are hoping for a better turnout Thursdayat the second in a series of public hearings onColumbus' proposed sales tax for governmentoperations.

The meeting will be 6 p.m. at Blackmon Road MiddleSchool, 7251 Blackmon Road.

The hearings are being held in each of the city'seight council districts. Thursday's meeting is beingheld in District 6, the city's panhandle arearepresented by Councilor Gary Allen. Council has atotal of 10 members, but two are elected citywide andthe rest represent districts.

About 85 people attended the first public meetingMonday night at Columbus High School, but half ofthose either were elected officials, cityadministrators or reporters covering the event.

The fact that only 40 or so residents chose to cometo that hearing worried city leaders such as Mayor JimWetherington, who hopes to persuade voters to pass thetax referendum July 15, and District 8 Councilor C.E."Red" McDaniel, who hosted the meeting at the 1700Cherokee Ave. school. At Tuesday's council meeting,both said they hope more voters will attend thehearings to ask any questions they have about theproposed tax.

Wetherington has pledged to devote to public safety70 percent of the $36 million the 1 percent tax isexpected annually to generate. Thirty percent would goto infrastructure such as roads, bridges and sewers,he said.

Other 6 p.m. hearings on the tax will be:

• Tuesday at Columbus State University's CunninghamCenter, 3100 Gentian Boulevard.

• March 13 at Forrest Road Elementary School, 6400Forrest Road.

• March 17 at Rigdon Road Elementary School, 1282Rigdon Road.

• March 18 at Baker Middle School, 1215 BenningDrive.

• March 20 at Eddy Middle School, 2100 S. LumpkinRoad.

• March 25 at Double Churches Middle School, 7611Whitesville Road.