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City Officials Approve Referendum For Tourism Tax

WATER VALLEY – Voters in Water Valley will go to the polls to vote on imposing a two percent tourism tax on the sale of prepared food in Water Valley. The proceeds would be earmarked for expenditures to promote tourism, parks and recreation in the city. The referendum was approved with a split vote in last Tuesday’s city meeting. Ward 3 Alderperson Bonnie Cox and Ward 4 Alderperson Nicole Folson were in favor of allowing voters to cast a ballot to determine if the tax will be imposed on restaurants. Ward 1 Alderman Ron Hart and Ward 2 Alderman Freddie Folson were against it.

“We have a two and two vote, so there is a tie and I get to vote tonight,” Mayor Donald Gray explained as he cast his vote in favor of the referendum. Alderman-at-Large Herbie Rogers was not at the meeting.

“All of the towns around us do this,” Gray added about the tourism tax.

The mayor noted that the next step is for aldermen to set the date for the special election.

“There is a process, it has to be published in the paper,” the mayor added.

Other actions in the monthly meeting included:

• In a 3 -1 vote aldermen affirmed an ordinance implemented by their predecessors in 2020 requiring all residential garbage customers to use city-supplied cans. Lenora Woodard questioned the ordinance, explaining that she needed a second can for overflow trash.

“I want to know why I can’t use my green trash can that is identical to the (city-supplied) blue one?” Woodard asked. “Do I have to purchase another one for overflow trash?” she added.

“I will address the ordinance that was approved,” Gray said. He explained that the ordinance approved by aldermen in 2020 states that the city will only empty cans provided by the city. The ordinance also requires that all garbage must also be bagged before being placed in the cart.

“The main reason this was done is for the safety of our people who pick up garbage,” Gray noted about using the heavy-duty can supplied by the city and the bagging requirement.

“I understand Lenora’s point that her can looks identical except it is green,” Gray added. The mayor also noted that many other residents in the city also had cans similar to the city-supplied can that they could not longer use after the ordinance was adopted.

Ward 2 Alderman Freddie Folson requested that aldermen change the ordinance to allow similar cans to be used in the city.

“I don’t understand why, if it is the same type of can like she has, the city can’t empty it,” Folson explained. “Some things we have, we can adjust,” he added about the ordinance. “Lenora isn’t the only one, I had a man stop me in the bank today. People are angry about some of this stuff.”

“We delivered some 1,500 (cans), and we had had 10 people that have complained about it to me,” Gray countered.

“You got more than that,” Folson said.

“You are never going to please everybody. But now if the board wants to go in and ask the attorney to redraft this ordinance,” Gray advised about letting aldermen settle the matter.

Folson then motioned to change the ordinance. His motion did not receive a second.

• Accepted the bid of $109,000 from Charles Dyer to purchase the former police and fire department buildings on Main Street. The five bids ranged from $89,000 to Dyer’s high bid. Dyer’s bid is contingent on the city rezoning the property as CBD (Central Business District) with an allowed variance for residential uses for the building facing Main Street on the first floor. A public hearing is scheduled on Nov. 2 for the zoning request (see ad at bottom of page.)

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