Two tax forums remaining

About 50 Columbus residents showed up Tuesday night at Baker Middle School for the sixth of eight public forums to discuss a proposed 1-percent sales tax.

Well over half the crowd included city employees and public safety officials. It was the smallest general public turnout for the meetings, being conducted by Mayor Jim Wetherington. The proposed tax will be on the July 15 ballot.

The city is using the forums held in each of the eight council districts to promote the tax and gather information from citizens.

City Manager Isaiah Hugley corrected some information he had said in two previous forums. The current 1-percent Local Option Sales Tax the city is proposing to fund public safety and roads and infrastructure improvements will not apply to hotels/motels and automobile dealerships.

The city has a previous LOST that was passed in 1976 for general government operations and hotels/motels and automobile dealerships do have to charge that tax.

"If this penny passes, hotels and motels and vehicles will be exempt," Hugley said.

The final two forums will be Thursday at Eddy Middle School, 2100 S. Lumpkin Road and Tuesday at Double Churches Middle School, 7611 Whitesville Road. Both forums start at 6 p.m. They have been lasting about two hours.