MINUTES OF A WORK SESSION
OF THE MAYOR AND THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE
CITY OF TALLASSEE, ALABAMA
SEPTEMBER 20, 2022
The City Council of the City of Tallassee, Alabama convened in a work session on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. at the Tallassee Municipal Complex. The meeting was called to order and the following were recorded as present:
Mayor Sarah Hill
Council Members Jeremy Taunton
Linda McNeal Mosher
Fred Randall Hughey
John Smith was absent as city attorney and Whitney Pitchford as secretary for the work session.
Mayor Hill announced that there would be no voting tonight, only discussion. Mayor also noted that Councilmember Hall had reached out to around 20 other cities to get information on their business license.
Councilmember Taunton stated that a lot of the business owners wanted to know where the money was going. Mayor Hill noted that everything was earmarked that the City collected. For example, the .01 Sales Tax-half goes to the school and half goes to infrastructure. Mayor said that the City wants this money to be seen—the Rec Department has a lot of requests and our budget is extremely tight. We are willing to listen to ideas. Councilmember Godwin said that we try to prioritize where the money is going. There’s never enough money to cover all of the City’s needs. We really have to prioritize. Councilmember Hall said that he started about 6 months ago and there were things that were not being captured in the budget. The more we got to looking, the tighter our budget got. We currently have about a $20,000 cushion.
Mayor Hill asked if any of the business owners wanted to speak.
Corrie Sid said that she heard that we were trying to run this like a business. She wants the money to be used for more than infrastructure. Let’s help the businesses. Wants to see some money appropriated to help business owners. We need to work better together.
David Lawrence said that he was concerned about the current business license proposal. They’ve invested a lot over these last several years. Came back from Lifeway Christian Bookstore to open the East Tallassee Super Foods. Brought Jacks, Dollar Tree and Papa Johns to town. As a business owner, it’s very difficult to plan for an expense at the end of the year. They are willing to work with the City, agrees that the business license fees need to be increased, just not this drastically.
Eats, Treats, and More’s owner of a downtown business wants to help grow the City. Wants the City to sit down with business owners and see how they can help. Wants Eats, Treats, and More to be a place that people can afford, but with price increases, they will have to pass it on to customers.
Michelle Davidson said that smaller cities don’t get the same foot traffic as larger cities. Understands the need for increased business license fees but not this much. Maybe there are other places that the City can look at to get money.
Eric Crestwell said that he didn’t get invited by a single council member and he didn’t see a notice about the meeting. Mayor Hill told Eric that this was published in The Tribune and also on the City’s website. Eric said that his business license would increase over 7000% and this would take away from business. It seems that there has been irresponsibility in the past and the current administration is trying to fix everything. Understands the need for an increase but this increase is unbelievable.
Councilmember Godwin wanted to thank everyone for their comments. The Council hasn’t locked anything in at this time. The Council’s goal is to take the comments from tonight and go back to the drawing board. We need to compromise.
Councilmember Taunton wanted to let everyone know that he agreed that the business license fees needed to increase but what the Council was proposing is outrageous. Wants what’s best for the City and appreciates everyone who is here and spoke. Hopes that everyone can say that we did what’s best for the City.
Mayor Hill wanted to thank everyone for coming and let everyone know that they are doing the best that they can. The Mayor regularly supports local businesses. There are a lot of great things going on in Tallassee.
Councilmember Godwin wanted to encourage people to watch the council meetings on Facebook if you can’t come. Get involved.
On motion of Councilmember Hall and second of Councilmember Godwin, and a vote in favor by all other councilmembers, the meeting was adjourned at 6:49 p.m.
SARAH HILL, Mayor
WHITNEY PITCHFORD, City Clerk